South Africa’s neighbours bans its poultry imports after bird flu outbreak

Bird flu

Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana on Tuesday suspended poultry imports from neighbouring South Africa with immediate effect following an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu.

South Africa confirmed outbreaks of avian flu, which is mainly transmitted by birds, on at least two farms.

Earlier this month, South Africa and Mozambique banned poultry imports from Zimbabwe after a bird flu outbreak there.

Botswana, which only imports 5 percent of its poultry needs, said it would no longer buy poultry meat, processed products and feeds from South Africa.

“The restriction is a precautionary measure to avoid equal infection here as well as protect our people,” Reuters reports agriculture minister Patrick Ralotsia to say.

Zimbabwe imposed a similar ban while Namibia also halted imports from Belgium which has experience an outbreak of bird flu earlier this year.

South Africa on Monday ended the sale of live hens throughout the country in a bid to control the outbreak that was detected on the farm of a commercial broiler breeder last week.

Poultry producer Astral, which had previously confirmed that H5N8 had been detected at its breeding facilities on the outskirts of the Free State, said on Tuesday it had quarantined the affected site and culled 150,000 birds, around six percent of its breeding stock.