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16 November 2011

Biological Hazard - Africa - South Africa

The South African veterinary authorities have reported three outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 8 yesterday, 14 November, wherein it was discovered that the causal agent has been identified as H5N2 serotype. The outbreaks took place in several commercial ostrich farms. A total of 1760 ostriches were found susceptible to the outbreaks, out of which 96 cases were identified. No deaths were recorded. However, 414 birds were slaughtered. According to the OIE, the farms tested positive on serology during routine surveillance, but tested negative on PCR and no virus could be found. Diagnosis was only confirmed after several follow-up PCR tests. South Africa only reports outbreaks on confirmation on PCR tests. Initially no clinical signs or mortalities were seen. Stamping out in positive farms is taking place. The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive.

- RSOE