Poultry farmers across Mzansi can heave a sigh of relief as authorities and experts have confirmed that fowl pox disease is not causing much headache to the already strained and sensitive poultry industry following the outbreak of bird flu.
Farmers mainly in the Eastern Cape have complained about their chickens experiencing fowl pox in the last few weeks with concerns growing about the safety of the poultry products in the country.
While isolated cases of fowl pox have been discovered in different parts of the country, the South African poultry industry said the cases reported were not any threat.
With South Africa now importing poultry products because of the outbreak, any other disease, if not managed, could collapse the sector.
No danger as yet
According to experts, biosecurity measures are important to reduce illnesses and diseases in livestock and layer farmers need to be extra careful to avoid illnesses like fowl pox that thrive in unclean conditions.
South African Poultry Association general manager Izaak Breitenbach has called on farmers to take extra care of their chickens in the wake of bird flu and fowl pox disease. He added that there is nothing to worry about because it is being well managed.
“If a farmer had a problem with it is probably due to a lack of vaccination or that something has gone wrong in the vaccination process. It is also not a disease that causes a lot of mortality,” he said.
African Poultry Producers (APP) chief executive Kobedi Pilane said farmers might be having isolated cases of fowl pox, but he stressed that because of the circumstances the poultry sector finds itself in, it is critically important that farmers should treat any diseases upon discovery.
“Fowl pox is a treatable disease and some farmers can use Ivermectin to treat infected specimens,” he explained.
Farmers need to remain vigilant
Meanwhile, spokesperson of the department of agriculture, rural development and land reform, Reggie Ngcobo, said there is not much to report about fowl pox, however, farmers need to reach out to the necessary animal health practitioners if they suspect anything.
“Farmers need to report cases to the nearest veterinary services. All our district offices have veterinarians available for assistance,” he said.
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