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South African farm hit by outbreak of H5N8 bird flu

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A South African farm in the Free State province has reportedly being hit by an outbreak of a highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu, AgriSA – an agricultural industry body group said.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said there was a reported outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu on a commercial broiler breeder farm in Mpumalanga province bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. It cited a report from the South African farm ministry that said some 5,000 birds died of the highly contagious disease and the remainder of the 24,000-birds farm was in the process of being culled.

The farm has since been quarantined. The virus is usually spread by migrating birds and is passed on to domestic poultry.

South Africa earlier this month suspended all trade in birds and chicken products from neighbouring Zimbabwe after it reported an outbreak of H5N8 at a commercial poultry farm.

Farmers have been urged to watch their poultry closely for signs of the virus.

Reuters

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