Bird flu vaccination under discussion as Didiza meets retailers

Bird flu vaccination under discussion as Didiza meets retailers

Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza met with retailers to discuss the impact of the bird flu  outbreak South Africa and the unfolding shortage of eggs.

‘Worst ever’ bird flu outbreak could lead to chicken shortage

So far, the department confirmed a total of fifty HPAI H7 outbreaks, and ten HPAI H5 outbreaks of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu.

In total, there has been a loss of 1 426 226 chickens due to the H7 strain.

The reported number of chickens that died of the H5 strain is 98 249, the reported number of chickens that were culled is 1 156 283.

Spokesperson for the Department, Reggie Ngcobo says the Monday meeting follows a meeting held with the South African Poultry Association last Friday. 

"These meetings follow engagements that have been taking place between government officials and industry.

"In Monday's meeting, the minister briefed the retailers on the containment measures that have been taken to limit the spread of the disease as well as possible solutions to manage such outbreaks in the short and the medium-term including vaccination.

"It was evident from today’s engagement that the main challenge is primarily on the egg production side, where there are supply constraints in some regions of the country," said Ngcobo.

Ngcobo said the minister is focusing on measures to improve the availability of egg supply to consumers and simultaneously putting measures to contain the spread of the disease, and the issuing of import permits for egg products. 

The government is also looking at the possibility of vaccination and currently reviewing applications by various suppliers.

"On the broiler side, Minister Didiza and Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel are assessing some trade instruments to ease the supply of chicken meat," said Ngcobo.


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