South Africa confirms two more cases of H5N8 bird flu on poultry farms

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[July 12, 2017]  JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's agricultural department confirmed on Wednesday two more outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu have been detected on commercial layer farms in the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

The farms have been placed under quarantine and movement of chickens and chicken products onto and off the farms have been stopped, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement.

Two previous outbreaks of avian flu in recent weeks have also been detected in South Africa, including on a farm belonging to poultry producer Astral.

Neighboring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana suspended poultry imports from South Africa following the initial outbreaks of avian flu.

The H5N8 strain has been detected in several countries in Europe, Africa and Asia over the past two years, with its spread aided by wild bird migrations. Highly pathogenic among fowl, it poses little risk to human health.

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(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Ed Stoddard and David Evans)

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