|August 9, 2004,
as reported by just-food.com: South African ostriches,
the latest victim of avian flu, are proving no bird and
no continent is safe from the outbreaks.
Authorities in South Africa have implemented a cull
of some 30,000 ostriches after avian influenza broke
out in the Eastern Cape.
Roadblocks have been established in a 20-mile radius
around Middleton in the Somerset East area, to prevent
exposed birds being transported around the country.
The bird flu outbreak has killed 1,500 ostriches on
two large ranches in the Eastern Cape, the Guardian
Officials have ordered the extermination of all potentially
exposed birds to prevent the virus from spreading and
harming the ostrich industry, which is worth some £108m
(US$198.8m) a year.
Hong Kong and Singapore announced bans on all South
African poultry products, in a move pre-empted by the
South African agricultural department. "The Department
of Agriculture has voluntarily stopped exports of poultry
and poultry products from South Africa until the outbreak
has been dealt with successfully," the department
said in a statement.
The avian flu has wreaked havoc on the Asian poultry
sector for the past year and has also been reported
in North America and Europe. South Africa's ostrich
business has been hit by the H5N2 strain, which is different
from the H5N1 strain that killed 24 people and millions
of chickens when it swept through Asia earlier this
year. It is not said to be dangerous for humans.