PRETORIA, The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says another case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 has been detected in a commercial poultry farm in Mpumalanga Province.

The influenza was detected in the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality on Aug 7, 2017 and control measures were applied and all birds culled, the department said Tuesday.

The department also confirmed that the first cases of HPAI H5N8 in ostriches were confirmed in two commercial ostrich farms in Western Cape Province in Hessequa Local Municipality on Aug 9, 2017.

The department added that a quarantine had been instituted and the application of disease control measures had commenced.

The recently detected outbreaks bring the total number to 16, including eight which were in commercial chickens, three in wild birds, two in commercial ostrich, two in backyard poultry, and one outbreak in birds which were kept as a hobby.

The department said it had received requests to vaccinate and these requests were under consideration. All possible pros and cons had to be carefully assessed in order for a decision to be reached, it added.

At the moment, vaccination against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is prohibited for the long-term benefit of the poultry industry at large. The department has applied for additional funding to deal with the disease control measures, including compensation where applicable, the department said in a statement.

The department said auction houses, buyers and sellers are still required to register with the Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA) to ensure traceability. Furthermore, gatherings of chickens should be avoided but in instances where this cannot be avoided, all registration requirements must be complied with.

The department said continued co-operation of the public and the poultry industry in the timely reporting of sick and dying birds to the Government Veterinary Services was vital to ensure speedy response and the necessary investigations in order to effectively manage the disease threat.