Namibia suspends imports and movement of live poultry
WINDHOEK – The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has suspended the import and in-transit movement of live poultry, birds, poultry products, ostriches and ostrich products from South Africa and Belgium.
The suspension is attributed to the outbreak of the highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry. The suspension is in line with the animal health act, (Act 1 of 2011).
Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds which is caused by a type of strain of the influenza virus which occurs worldwide. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is characterized by the sudden onset, severe illness, and rapid death with a mortality rate that can reach an extreme approach.
In a statement, chief veterinary officer, Milton Maseke, confirmed that all previously issued import and in transit permits are cancelled and recalled with immediate effect.
“Since the incubation period of the disease is 21 days as set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the suspension will take effect 21 days prior to the date of start of the event,” he said.
“Cooked poultry meat products from South Africa for commercial purposes may still be imported into Namibia under the revised veterinary import permit.”
Maseke cautioned the public that the disease could be transmitted to humans through handling and coming into close contact with infected poultry as well as consuming poultry products from infected poultry.
Some common health signs of the disease in poultry include swelling and purple discolouration of the head and wattle, swelling and red discolouration of the feet, bleeding of internal organs, staggering movement and paralysis of wings and legs.