Bird flu hits Heidelberg area of W Cape

MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde says cases have been picked up on two farms in the Heidelberg area.

Winde says there have been 13 cases around the country.

We have been randomly testing hoping we wouldn't get it.

Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC Economic Opportunities

But they have picked cases up on two farms around Heidelberg.

A 3-kilometer quarantine has been placed around the farms, he says.

It is ostrich that has been affected.

We hopefully can contain it there.

Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC Economic Opportunities

The quarantine involves no movement of birds - in this case, ostrich - on and off the farm. On the farms itself, they have strict protocols in place.

The biggest problem is it is transmitted by wild birds as well and you don't have much control over where the birds go.

Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC Economic Opportunities

Winde says the next step would be culling, and during the last outbreak in the Oudtshoorn area this profoundly affected the ostrich industry and jobs. It has taken a long time to recover and the industry has still not fully recovered.

They are treating the outbreak very seriously and call on the public to report any signs of illness to help contain it.

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