The Western Cape has become the latest province to be hit by a highly contagious strain of bird flu.Sixteen outbreaks have occurred in SA since June this year, mainly in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.But the Western Cape agriculture department has now confirmed the presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), type H5N8, in two ostrich farms in the Heidelberg area."At this stage, it appears that the incidence has been confined to the two properties. Farms within 3km of the affected farms will be placed under quarantine and testing in the surrounding areas will continue," the department said on Tuesday.Avian influenza is a viral respiratory disease of birds believed to be transmitted by wild migratory birds. In Southern Africa, the H5N8 strain of the disease has also affected the poultry industry in Zimbabwe, where thousands of commercial birds have died or have been culled.There is currently neither a preventive vaccine nor a treatment for HPAI H5N8. Current practice in most re...

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