MOZAMBIQUE – In a bid to curb the spread of bird flu, more than 45,000 hens have been slaughtered, incinerated, and buried in southern Mozambique.

The birds, which had been imported from neighboring South Africa, were destroyed to prevent further transmission of the disease, according to officials.

The 45,000 hens culled in Mozambique had been in contact with birds infected by the flu in South Africa and were brought to Mozambique with the purpose of egg production.

The bird flu has now extended its reach into Mozambique’s Morrumbene district, located in the southern Inhambane province.

Authorities in Mozambique are making efforts to contain the disease, fearing its further spread within the country.

Meanwhile, Mozambique has witnessed a shortage of eggs and chickens, leading to a significant rise in prices.

The average price of chicken nearly doubled, increasing from 350 Mozambican metical ($5; £4) to 600. A dozen eggs have seen their price soar from 100 to 150 metical.

To mitigate the impact and halt the disease’s spread, Mozambique has imposed a ban on the importation of chickens and related products from South Africa, including eggs and chicken feed.

Additionally, the government has restricted the movement of chickens, eggs, and animal feed from Morrumbene, which is at the center of the outbreak, to other parts of Mozambique.

“The decision to incinerate the hens was made to prevent individuals from consuming them following their slaughter,” authorities explained.

The bird flu outbreak initially hit South Africa, where it has resulted in one of the country’s worst avian flu crises.

South African poultry farmers have had to cull seven million egg-laying hens, accounting for a substantial portion of the nation’s poultry stock, as reported by the South African Poultry Association.

Meanwhile, the South African Poultry Association (Sapa) has informed government committees that the outbreaks have significantly affected approximately 30% of the country’s poultry industry.

This has led to the culling of about 7.5 million birds, with potential financial losses exceeding R1.8 billion, a figure that mirrors the losses experienced during previous bird flu outbreaks in 2019.

Sapa’s General Manager for the broiler organization, Izaak Breitenbach, estimated the losses at around R3 billion based on the 30% impact on the industry’s annual revenue of approximately R12 billion.