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The Department of Agriculture has taken active steps to control the confirmed outbreak of the highly contagious avian flu in Mpumalanga, where about 24,000 chickens have had to be slaughtered.A general ban has been placed on the sale of live spent hens across the country until further notice, and SA’s trading partners have been informed about the outbreak as required. The department has advised that meat from healthy poultry is safe for consumption as it undergoes strict meat inspection processes at abattoirs.The outbreak comes at a delicate time for the poultry industry, which is struggling against imports.Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 — a rapidly spreading viral disease — was confirmed in a broiler breeder site in Mpumalanga on Thursday last week. It exists naturally in many birds and can be transmitted by coming into contact with infected animals or through ingestion of infected food or water."The affected farm has been quarantined and culling of the affected anim...

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