Avian Influenza Detected in Ostriches in Oudtshoorn
On Tuesday, 9 April, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gerrit van Rensburg announced that Diagnostic testing of samples from an ostrich farm near Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo Valley have tested positive for the presence of a Notifiable Avian Influenza virus (AIV). The tests indicated that the causative organism is a H7N1 virus. The pathogenicity of this virus is unknown as yet but samples have been submitted to determine the type.
Van Rensburg said the source of the infection is as yet unknown but an intensive epidemiologic investigation has been launched by his Department.
As precautionary measures the Veterinary Services of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture have instituted the following:
- All movements of ostriches and their products within a 3 kilometre zone round the outbreak farm have been prohibited and all ostrich holdings in this zone is in the process of being quarantined.
- All ostrich holdings in this zone will be sampled and tested for the presence of Avian Influenza.
- The ostrich auction of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 have been postponed to a still to be determined later date.
The above measures, issued in terms of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act 35 of 1984) after consultation with the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, will remain in place until further notice.
Further information will be made available once the results of follow-up tests have been received. Van Rensburg said that the impact this new case might have on the industry's export hopes will be clearer once the results of the follow-up test are known.
Van Rensburg strongly urged Ostrich producers to limit movement of ostriches in the vicinity of Oudtshoorn as far as possible and to report the occurrence of any sick or dead ostriches to the local State Veterinarian (see contact details below).
Dr Cathy Fox
Cell: 082 699 6043
George and Southern Cape:
Dr Edwin Dyason
Cell: 082 907 1142
Dr Marna Sinclair
Cell: 072 987 1720