Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Botswana bans poultry imports from South Africa after avian flu outbreak

2 minute read

Chickens are seen at a poultry farm at Hartbeesfontein, a settlement near Klerksdorp, in the North West province, South Africa, August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

GABORONE, April 14 (Reuters) - Botswana has banned the importation of poultry and poultry products from South Africa after an outbreak of avian influenza was detected on a chicken farm in South Africa, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

South Africa said on Tuesday that around 300 birds died of avian flu at the commercial chicken-layer farm in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, with samples from the farm testing positive for the H5 strain.

"As a result, the import of domesticated and wild birds, their products (meat, eggs and feathers), from South Africa is banned with immediate effect," Botswana's Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security said in a statement.

After an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian flu in 2017, which saw poultry farmers culling millions of birds, neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana banned poultry imports from South Africa.

Botswana authorities warned the public to be vigilant and to report any deaths of domestic poultry and wild birds to veterinary offices.

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Reporting by Brian Benza, Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Alison Williams

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