Zimbabwe Minister Says Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu Under Control

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Zimbabwe’s Health Minister Dr. David Parirenyatwa says avian influenza commonly known as bird flu, which affected thousands of chicken at a poultry farm near Harare, is under control.

Dr. Parirenyatwa told VOA Studio 7 that Irvine’s Farm, which has been quarantined, has assured government that it will dispose of all the infected birds in order to stop the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza.

Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique have banned Zimbabwean chicken imports after the disease killed 7,000 chicken, resulting in the immediate culling of over 140,000 at Irvine’s Farm. The farm produces more than 1,5 million day-old chicks per week.

Dr. Parirenyatwa said, “… The department of agriculture went there very quickly and it’s advised that over 2 million chickens will be culled to make sure that this virus is stemmed out.”

He asked Zimbabweans to avoid eating meat of infected chickens.

“Generally H5N8 virus affects only birds and other animals and not human beings. So, generally there is no danger however we advise our people when that particular flu has been identified that they don’t eat or consume those particular birds partly because they may get that flu but usually it’s a very mild flu …”

Avian influenza has been reported in Europe, Asia and some parts of Africa where it has killed millions of domesticated birds.-VOA