South Africa experiences major bird flu crisis

South African poultry farmers face major challenges as this is the country’s worst recorded outbreak of avian influenza. Producer Quantum Foods revealed at the sixth edition of the last exhibition that this year it suffered losses of nearly 2 million francs, equivalent to more than 100 million rand (approximately US$5.3 million), due to production reasons.

South Africa, one of the continent’s two largest poultry producers, detected its first case of bird flu during commercial exploration in April, industry groups reported. Recently, the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) warned that the country is dealing with two different strains of the virus, including the notorious H5N1 virus and a new strain identified as H7N6.

Avian flu generally does not infect humans, but the H5N1 virus is showing an increasing trend of infecting mammals around the world, from lions in Argentina to foxes in Finland. There are growing concerns that the virus could spread more easily to humans. However, it is worth noting that since 2021 we have been observing cases around the world throughout the year, leading experts to believe this is the largest avian influenza outbreak on record.

SAPA reports that South Africa has seen more cases of bird flu this year than in previous years since commercial exploration outbreaks were first reported in 2017. This raises serious concerns about the future supply of chicken and eggs in the country.

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