Bird flu in city ‘not a threat to humans’

The City of Joburg has been affected by the global outbreak of the avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 strain (bird flu) that was first detected in Europe and Asia.

The seasonal migration of free-roaming birds has aided in the spread of the virus.

CoJ stated this is evident in various parts of the country, including in the City of Joburg, around the Westdene Dam, Emmarentia Dam, Zoo Lake and the Joburg Zoo.

“The H5N8 strain prevalent in Joburg is not contagious to human beings,” a statement issued on behalf of Clr Nonhlanhla Sifumba, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community, read.

“There is no cause for concern regarding the spread of the disease to citizens; however as per the city’s standard cautionary advice, residents are urged to take the necessary precautions,” the statement read.

Residents are encouraged to:

• Refrain from handling or making contact with sick or dead birds.

• Not attempt to feed wild birds or resuscitate sick birds.

• Report sightings of sick or dead birds to JCPZ on 011 712 6600. A team is on standby to assist with the removal of diseased birds which are being incinerated.

• Ensure that all poultry produce is properly cooked.

Johannesburg City Parks has recovered over 581 carcasses and has incinerated a further 243 chicks and 110 deserted eggs.

The Joburg Zoo is also exercising the necessary caution as per the Office of the State Veterinarian to ensure that the valuable collection of vulnerable species continues to be protected as per the bio-security measures put in place by the State Vet, at the Joburg Zoo.

The Joburg Zoo remains open to visitors, who will need to use the footbaths with disinfectant at the exits.

Vehicles exiting the zoo are being sprayed and employees leaving the zoo were requested to comply with the daily quarantine measures put in place to contain the spread of the avian influenza.

Symptoms in birds include a combination of respiratory problems or diarrhoea followed by rapid death. All dead birds are being incinerated and are being handled as per strict health and safety regulations.

Residents who have concerns can send enquiries to [email protected], call 011 712 6600 or report sightings after hours to 082 906 1515.

Joburg East Express

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