Avian influenza in South Africa

6 July 2006

An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype H5N2 has been reported at Riversdale in Western Cape province in an ostrich rearing farm (58 ostriches) aged 4 months. The diagnosis has been established on 1 July 2006 by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute by Reverse Transcriptase - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and sequence analysis. Preliminary surveillance indicates that the outbreak is probably limited to the single farm (8 cases) in which the disease was detected. The farm has been put under quarantine (10km-radius zone) and all 58 ostriches have been destroyed on 1 July 2006. Culling of all other poultry in the index farm was completed on 3 July 2006. The source of the outbreak or origin of the infection is said to unknown or inconclusive. The last outbreak of avian influenza in South Africa was reported in August 2005.

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