The dreaded bird flu H5N8 strain has finally reached the City of Joburg after hitting other parts of the country.
“The seasonal migration of free-roaming birds have aided in the spread of the virus. This is evident in various parts of the country including in the City of Joburg, around the Westdene Dam, Emmarentia Dam, Zoo Lake and the Joburg Zoo,” said Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba yesterday.
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JPCZ) yesterday allayed residents’ concerns. The H5N8 strain prevalent in Joburg is not contagious to human beings.
“There is no cause for concern regarding the spread of the disease to citizens, however, as per the City’s standard cautionary advice, residents are urged to take the necessary precautions,” said MMC Sifumba.
Some of the steps residents can take include:
1. Refrain from handling or making contact with sick or dead birds;
2. Do not attempt to feed wild birds or resuscitate sick birds;
3. Report sightings of sick or dead birds to JCPZ on 011 712-6600. A team is on standby to assist with the removal of diseased birds which are being incinerated, and
4. Ensure that all poultry produce is properly cooked
Johannesburg City Parks has recovered over 581 carcasses and has incinerated a further 243 chicks and 110 deserted eggs.
The Joburg Zoo is also exercising the necessary caution as per the Office of the State Veterinarian to ensure that the valuable collection of vulnerable species, continue to be protected as per the biosecurity measures put in place by the State Vet, at the Joburg Zoo.
“The Joburg Zoo remains open to visitors who will need to use the footbaths with disinfectant at the exits. Vehicles exiting from inside the Zoo are being sprayed as well and employees leaving the Zoo are also requested to comply with the daily quarantine measures put in place to contain the spread of bird flu,” said MMC Sifumba.
Symptoms in birds include a combination of respiratory problems or diarrhoea followed by rapid death.
Residents who have concerns may direct their enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011 712-6600 or report sightings after hours to 082 906 1515.