The country’s poultry farmers have warned of possible shortages of chicken and eggs “South Africa Bird Flu Outbreak” as they battle what is believed to be the worst bird flu outbreak in history.
Quantum Foods reported on Friday that it had lost almost two million chickens to the disease this year, worth more than 100 million rand ($5.3 million).
Astral, another producer, said on Thursday that the bird flu outbreak is the worst it has ever seen in South Africa.
In the coming months, it is expected that the supply of poultry meat into the value chain could be negatively affected by this.
South Africa Bird Flu Outbreak: Poultry industry faces mounting losses
So far, the outbreak has cost the company 220 million rand.
South Africa, one of the continent’s largest poultry producers, reported its first bird flu cases in April.
According to SAPA, the country is facing two strains of the virus, the infamous H5N1 and a new strain dubbed H7N6.
According to Astral, the latter was spreading rapidly through the northeastern provinces of Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
H5N1 is increasingly infecting mammals worldwide, from sea lions in Argentina to foxes in Finland, raising fears that it could spread to humans more easily.
Since 2021, cases of the virus have emerged year-round, and across the globe, causing what experts believe is the largest outbreak in history.
Since the first outbreaks were reported in commercial farms in 2017, the number of avian flu cases in South Africa this year was higher than ever before.
The outbreak is also having a negative impact on consumers. Many South Africans rely on chicken as a staple food, and the outbreak has made it difficult for them to afford to buy chicken.
The South African government is working to support the poultry industry and to help consumers during the outbreak. The government has provided financial assistance to the industry and it is working to increase the supply of chicken products.
Here are some additional tips to help prevent the spread of bird flu:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling poultry.
- Avoid contact with live poultry, especially if the poultry is sick or injured.
- Cook poultry thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not eat raw or undercooked poultry.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that have come into contact with poultry.
If you have any concerns about bird flu, please contact your local health department.