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UPDATE on Western Cape Avian Influenza

9 Nov 2021

The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre continues to manage an ongoing outbreak of Avian Influenza amongst wild seabirds in the province.

Since 1 October 2021, the total number of recorded dead birds is 18388 of which 17926 are Cape Cormorants. The area most affected is Dyer island where 12203 dead birds have been reported to date.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, says the outbreak is not yet over but the numbers of dying birds continue to decline in most regions.

“We haven’t had any reports of the virus spreading further inland or to other unaffected regions which may suggest that our ongoing interventions have paid off. At the moment we’re losing around 100 birds per day, down from around 750 at the peak of the outbreak. The bulk of the deaths are reported on Dyer island where 59 Cape Cormorants were found yesterday. At the peak of the outbreak around 500 per day were dying on the island.”

Bredell says efforts will continue to address the ongoing outbreak.

“We hope we’ve turned the corner, but more time is needed to be sure. I want to thank all the various stakeholders and officials who have been working tirelessly for more than a month now on containing and managing this outbreak.”

The public is also urged to continue to be vigilant and report unusual mortalities in any birds to their local municipality, conservation authority or state veterinarian. The SPCA and NSPCA may also be contacted. Contact details for state veterinarians are available at https://www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/veterinary-services-0#s=Animal-Health-and-Disease-Control

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