Home Health Avian Influenza Outbreak Hits North West Province’s Bojanala District

Avian Influenza Outbreak Hits North West Province’s Bojanala District

by Central News Reporter
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Pathogenic avian influenza

Avian Influenza

The Department of Agriculture in the North West Province has reported a significant increase in the number of Avian Influenza outbreaks in the Bojanala District. From initially four chicken houses, the outbreaks have now spread to a total of ten chicken houses, all of which are layer farms.

Pathogenic avian influenza

Pathogenic avian influenza

The impact on the affected farms has been severe, with a drastic drop in egg production.


The Department has imposed strict biosecurity measures, treating each affected unit as an independent house, and has issued a quarantine notice for the farm.

Adding to the concern, an additional farm in Bojanala was reported to the Department on October 11, 2023. As a result, the export certificates previously issued for this farm have been revoked by the Veterinary Services Directorate.

To mitigate the spread of the disease and ensure the prompt resolution of the outbreak, the Department is urging farmers to apply for exemption to slaughter if they are unable to meet the required biosecurity measures. Some farms have already taken the necessary steps to cull infected birds and are making plans for disinfection. This decisive action will help to expedite the resolution of the outbreak and pave the way for the resumption of normal business operations. Farms that have postponed culling because bird deaths have stopped will remain under quarantine until they are able to provide evidence of freedom from the disease.

Dr. Langa Madyibi, the Veterinary Services Director, has advised farmers who have visited infected farms and have a significant stock of eggs in storage to consider selling the eggs to approved disinfecting houses. This option will allow them to maintain their businesses, as the disinfected and processed eggs can still be sold.

MEC Desbo Mohono from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development emphasized that the current response protocol for Avian Influenza in South Africa does not include vaccination. The only recommended solution during an outbreak is the culling of infected birds, followed by thorough disinfection. In order for vaccines to be used in the country, they must undergo registration and approval by medicines registering authorities in South Africa. The Department has established a protocol for the use of vaccines on farms, and any facility or farm seeking to vaccinate for Avian Influenza must first be registered as a ZA facility with the Department, ensuring their compliance with strict biosecurity standards.

The issuance of Veterinary Health Certificates has been halted to prevent the further spread of the virus through exports of eggs and live chickens. Farmers who were previously not registered as South African facilities should consider going through the necessary registration process to participate in the vaccination program. State Veterinarians are available to assist these farmers in the registration process.

The Department of Agriculture strongly advises all farmers to adhere to stringent biosecurity measures, including the prevention of wild bird contact with domesticated chickens. Additionally, meat and eggs from infected farms, as well as dead chickens, should not be consumed by humans or predator animals.

The avian influenza outbreak has had a significant impact on the agricultural industry in South Africa. Over a hundred farms, the majority of which are commercial facilities, have reported being infected, resulting in losses in parental stock for layer breeders and broilers. This has led to a shortage of eggs on retail shelves throughout the country.

The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has been actively engaged in addressing the challenges posed by this outbreak. In recent weeks, the chamber has participated in crucial meetings aimed at finding solutions to this immediate crisis.

With the ongoing avian flu outbreak, grocery retailers have implemented restrictions on the number of eggs that shoppers can purchase.


Avian influenza is a high-pathogenic strain that spreads rapidly within infected flocks, causing a high mortality rate. Dr. Abongile Balarane, the general manager of the egg board at the SA Poultry Association, revealed that the initial H5N1 outbreak began in the Western Cape in April and subsequently spread throughout the country. Currently, only the Eastern and Northern Cape provinces remain unaffected.

However, a different strain of the disease has emerged in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and parts of the Free State. As a result, approximately five million layer hens have been culled, and it is estimated that a total of 8.5 million birds, including both H5N1 and H7N6 strains, will be affected.



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