Avian vet urges immune systems of pet birds be kept as high as possible

City of Joburg's City Parks have confirmed that bird flu has spread to certain parts of Johannesburg. Joburg Zoo‚ Westdene Dam‚ Emmarentia Dam and Zoo Lake are managing the virus with some safety measures.

More than 500 birds were culled since last month after carcasses tested positive for the H5N8 strain of the virus. Residents who own birds have been urged to monitor them, especially if they live close to the zoo.

Read: City Parks update as bird flu hits Joburg zoos

Dr Cheryl Cohen, National Institute for Communicable Diseases says the risk of avian flu to humans is exceptionally low. This virus has never been described to cause disease to humans says Cohen.

We are monitoring people who are very closely exposed to the affected birds for precautionary measures.

Dr Cheryl Cohen, National Institute for Communicable Diseases

Avian vet, Dr. Deon De Beer says chickens, blue cranes, pigeons, guinea fowls and more are exposed to avian flu. He says the virus is spread largely by wild birds owing to the large population of these with a low immune system.

De Beer warns birders owners to ensure the immune systems of their pet birds are kept as high as possible and avoid contact with wild birds.

Listen to the clip for more:


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