News ruffling feathers around the Western Cape has been the sudden rise of avian influenza, a particularly nasty strain classified as H598.

The good news is that humans can’t catch it, the bad news is you better put all your roosters in a row and collect your eggs in one basket.  South African Poultry Association spokesman, Achmad Brinkhuis, has confirmed that 80% of the Western Cape’s twenty egg producers have been affected by the outbreak.

“If the demand is there and the supply is not, the prices will obviously go up but it depends on the retailers themselves.” he said.
Managing director of Windmeul Eggs, Pier Passerini, told the media that “We have lost 80% of our production and the last 20% is also in jeopardy”.

In Italy more than 865 000 chickens, ducks and turkeys will be culled due to the outbreak of H598. Symptoms of the virus include respiratory problems and diarrhoea – followed by rapid death. With its origins in Europe and Asia, the strain has literally flown to South Africa, spreading with the patterns of migratory birds. Locally, the outbreak of the virus has been traced back to June, when over two million birds were killed and 70% of regular egg supply was affected in the Western Cape. Meanwhile, in Johannesburg it has spread throughout the metro and surrounds with one egg farm in Boksburg even ceasing operations.

But it’s not just egg and poultry supplies which are being affected – our biodiversity is at stake too. Bird Life SA has confirmed the severity of the outbreak, confirming that the highly-endangered White-Winged Flufftail is at the most risk of becoming extinct. Only 250 of these birds exist in the wild globally, with 50 of these left in South Africa. There is a “real risk” if the species is infected with the virus.

 

South African Poultry Association spokesman, Achmad Brinkhuis, has confirmed that 80% of the Western Cape’s twenty egg producers have been affected by the outbreak. “If the demand is there and the supply is not, the prices will obviously go up but it depends on the retailers themselves.” he was quoted as saying. Managing director of Windmeul Eggs, Pier Passerini, told the media that “We have lost 80% of our production and the last 20% is also in jeopardy.”

Expect prices to get eggspensive everywhere when shopping for eggs, with chefs throughout Cape Town and surrounds taking to social media to obtain supplies of eggs in light of the shortage.

“We can expect huge increases in the next few months and that is a big concern for us. Coming off two droughts we will see a leap in food prices and now animal food prices will go up in the immediate term.” said Department of Agriculture economist Louw Pienaar.

Expect prices to get eggspensive everywhere, with chefs throughout Cape Town and surrounds taking to social media to stock up supplies of eggs in light of the shortage.

Residents are urged to not to attempt to feed or resuscitate sick birds.

 

Photography Unsplash

Article written by

Justin Williams

Justin Williams is a born-and-bred Capetonian with a flair for writing. His icons include the late South African authors Lawrence Green, Eric Rosenthal and T.V. Bulpin, literary figures who continuously inspire him to cover the avenues of lifestyle, travel and nature in a local context. When Justin's not covering a story, he can be found in the mountains - he's a renowned wild food forager and is currently learning herbalism.