August 2, 2017 / 1:49 PM / in 4 months

South African poultry producer Astral confirms second outbreak of avian flu

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African poultry producer Astral Foods confirmed a second outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu at one of its farms, the company said on Wednesday.

The outbreak of avian flu on South African farms has prompted neighboring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana to ban poultry imports from South Africa.

Astral confirmed an outbreak of bird flu at its Standerton breeding farm in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province after avian flu was previously detected on its Villiers farm.

“This new outbreak is being handled with extreme care, diligence and with the experience gained from the first outbreak,” said Astral in a statement.

The poultry producer said the first outbreak cost the company around 25 million rand ($2 million) but could not yet give the financial impact of the latest outbreak.

In July South Africa’s agricultural department confirmed four outbreaks of bird flu, placing the farms under quarantine and stopping the movement of chickens and chicken products onto and off the farms in an effort to prevent it spreading.

The H5N8 strain has been detected in several countries in Europe, Africa and Asia over the past two years, with its spread aided by wild bird migrations. Highly pathogenic among fowl, it poses little risk to human health.

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by James Macharia

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