Namibia bans live birds trade to contain disease outbreak

Windhoek, Oct 24 (IANS) The Namibian Agriculture Ministry has banned movement and trading of live birds in the country following an outbreak of the New Castle disease in July this year.

In a notice seen by Xinhua news agency on Monday, the ministry confirmed that the contagious bird disease, that is transmissible to humans, has been spreading in three regions — Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto — in the north of the country.

The notice said that although this is not the first time New Castle disease was reported in Namibia, the magnitude of the current outbreak “has not been seen in the country for a long time”.

In light of this, movement and trading of live birds — chickens, ducks, ostriches, guinea fowls, caged birds, pigeons and doves — has been banned with immediate effect, it said.

The movement of uncooked eggs and feathers from neighbouring countries has also been banned.

Farmers in the affected regions have been urged to visit their nearest state veterinary office for New Castle disease vaccines.

Although the notice said commercial poultry farmers should have sound vaccination programmes and bio-security in place, ostrich farmers were advised not to do so without consulting veterinary offices.

“The public is hereby advised not to consume poultry that died from this disease or any other disease but to report such incidences to the nearest state veterinary offices,” the notice said, adding that such poultry should be burnt.