Over the months of April and May 2021 South Africa witnessed several outbreaks of highly infective avian influenza in different poultry farms across the country. Avian flu may also be harmful to humans and WHO (The World Health Organisation) have advised on precautionary measures to prevent a potential outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic which can make the situation hard to control.
The discovery came as a shock to the country that was recently ravaged by political riots and looting as well as trying to recover from the impact on production affected by the COVID 19 pandemic, and poultry farmers are facing further economic crisis amid the disabling pandemic.
The emergence of the virus has prompted import ban and huge culls in the poultry industry, resulting in a lack of fresh produce from farmers as well as eggs. The main transfer of the virus strangely enough is via humans, who can carry the virus on their clothing and shoes, thus unknowingly spreading this deadly strain throughout poultry farming communities. Employees have been encouraged to shower in the mornings when they arrive at the farms and wear fresh clothes, then leaving the clothes behind as the leave the farms.
The current situation will leave a huge dent in the economy as well as severely impact people’s day-to-day life. The result is a severe shortage of chicken products that will not only impact our day to day lives in the restaurant industry, but also the everyday lives of the poorer communities whose standard meat consumption is chicken.