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News reaching us that South Africa has banned the sale of live hens countrywide in a bid to control an outbreak of highly contagious H5N8 bird flu which was confirmed at a farm in Mpumalanga, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced Sunday.

‘’We have placed a general ban on the sale of live hens across the country until further notice,’’ department spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo said.

This was after a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 was confirmed in a broiler breeder site in Mpumalanga on Thursday, June 22.
HPAI is a rapidly spreading viral disease that can infect many types of birds and it is highly contagious.

“It exists naturally in many birds and can be transmitted coming into contact with infected animals or through ingestion of infected food or water,’’ the department explained.

The farm, which has not been named yet, has been quarantined and the affected animals have been already been culled there.
Hens are female chickens and those in broiler breeder sites are usually spent after a year, and are sold to small businesses who then sell them on at markets in towns and villages.
The department is tracing the movement of all poultry in and out of the farm in order to establish the source of the Influenza.

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