By Azania Post Reporter
THREE countries have reported to have been invaded with the deadly bird flu, local media report today.
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo has been reported to have bird flu.
Already Zimbabwe has announced to be hit by a shortage of broiler chicks after the country's biggest poultry producer was hit by an outbreak of bird flu in recent months, local media reported Wednesday.
Irvine's was hit by two avian flu outbreaks in May and July, resulting in it culling more than 200,000 broiler parent stock in a bid to contain the highly pathogenic virus.
In an industry update, the Zimbabwe Poultry Association said the culling of the parent stock at Irvine's had resulted in a shortage of broiler day old chicks of nearly 500,000 per week.
The gap has to be covered by more expensive imports from outside the southern African region, it said.
Zimbabwe has culled 215,000 chickens to stop the spread of the highly contagious bird flu virus, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on Thursday.
Zimbabwe last week announced a second outbreak of the H5N8 bird flu at Lanark farm just outside the capital Harare, which recorded another outbreak in May.
In response to the bird flu outbreak, Southern African Development Community countries and FAO are currently meeting in South Africa to find ways of preventing the further spread of the disease.
In a statement released at the meeting, FAO said if not controlled, the bird flu outbreak could lead to huge economic losses to SADC member countries due to culling of poultry and trade restrictions..
Since the first outbreak in the region in May, member states had implemented a series of actions including heightened surveillance, quarantine, importation bans of poultry and poultry products from affected countries and awareness raising, FAO said.
Avian influenza is a virus that occurs naturally among wild birds worldwide and it affects domestic poultry and other birds and animal species.