SOUTH AFRICA – Western Cape minister of economic opportunities Alan Winde said yesterday that his province had suffered the most with reported cases of avian influenza in the country.

So far this year, the province has confirmed 36 cases and 70 ostrich farms are under quarantine.

Winde said in excess of 2 million birds had died as a result and some have been culled at a cost projected to be around R800 million (US$59 million) in immediate losses to the industry.

In response to this outbreak, the Western Cape government has convened a Joint Operations Centre (JOC).

The JOC is being headed by the Western Cape department of agriculture, the provincial disaster management centre, the department of social development and the department of environmental affairs and development planning.

“The Western Cape is the worst affected province in South Africa. In some regions, poultry production farms are clustered in a specific area.

In other provinces, cases have occurred at locations far removed from these hubs,” Winde said.

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