10 Sep 2017 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 10 SEP (NAMPA) Namibia will continue to import poultry products from South Africa despite reports of further spread of the H5N8 avian bird flu to the Western Cape over recent weeks.
The Avian Bird flu is a highly pathogenic virus which has the ability to attack birds. It is spread by wild birds migrating from one continent to another and is highly contagious.
A moratorium was placed on all poultry imports from South Africa on 27 June 2017 after an outbreak of the bird flu was reported.
In July this year, Namibia slightly lifted its ban on poultry imports from South Africa, due to shortages of poultry products on the market.
Media reports in South Africa reported an outbreak of the bird flu in the Western Cape on 27 August 2017, where more than 10 000 birds are said to have died from the virus.
The H5N8 virus initially spread to the areas of the Free State, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng provinces which border the Vaal Dam (located north-east of South Africa) where the flu is said to have originated from.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Percy Misika told Nampa upon enquiry the import of poultry products from South Africa is affected to some extent, however such imports are allowed from establishments that are approved by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (DAFF) in the neighbouring country.
This is on condition that the poultry products were manufactured from poultry that originated from closed biosecure poultry compartments approved by the DAFF.
Another condition is that the poultry compartments should be located 90 kilometres from confirmed outbreaks and slaughtered at approved abattoirs.
The poultry compartments are subjected to monthly sero-surveillance or virological test for highly Avian Pathogenic Influenza only poultry from negative compartment results can be imported into Namibia, Misika said.
The testing intervals shall not be less than 21 days and not more than 30 days.
The ministry further encouraged local poultry producers to ensure implementation of bio security measures at their farms and to avoid importing poultry products from country establishments affected by bird flu.