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South Africa Grapples with its Worst Outbreak of Avian Influenza Affecting Poultry Industry

Published September 22, 2023
9 months ago

South Africa's poultry industry is engulfed in a crisis as it battles its worst avian influenza outbreak, injuring the nation's poultry production and threatening food security. The onset of the deadly viral infection, detected as the H7N6 strain, is proving devastating for the industry, marking a spike in mortality with approximately a third of egg-laying chickens and a quarter of broiler-breeding chickens succumbing to the virus or necessitating culling.

First detected in the province of Mpumalanga in early June, the virulent H7N6 avian influenza virus has been relentless in its sweep, extending its deadly grip to Gauteng, sections of Limpopo, and Rustenburg situated in the North West province. This migration and intensification of the outbreak are stirring grave concerns among the poultry farmer community and prompting critical discussions on biosecurity measures.

Currently, the poultry industry is concentrating on containment and control measures to stem the spread of the highly pathogenic virus and curtail further damage to their operations. The industry's joint response, in collaboration with the country's health officials, attempts to quickly identify, isolate, and eliminate the virus, fortifying the nation's poultry sector and safeguarding South Africa's consumers from potential health risks.

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