South Africa: Government Considers Vaccinations As Avian Flu Outbreak Triggers Egg Shortages

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The Agriculture Ministry of South Africa is looking at vaccines to stop avian flu outbreaks that have led to egg scarcity in some regions.

Retailers and the agriculture minister met on Monday to discuss the avian influenza outbreak in South Africa and the government’s efforts to manage it.

“[The] Minister briefed the retailers on the containment measures that have been taken to limit the spread of the disease as well as possible solutions to manage such outbreaks in the short and medium term, including vaccination,” the agricultural department stated.

“It was clear from today’s discussion that the biggest obstacle to egg production is availability, which is constrained in some parts of the nation.

“In response to this challenge, the minister is focusing on measures to improve the availability of egg supply to consumers while simultaneously putting measures in place to contain the spread of the disease,” stated the statement.

Following the killing of four million hens, several stores, including Spar, warned of an egg shortage last month. The egg-related merchandise shelves in many Gauteng retail establishments are still largely empty.

Chicken vaccination is not currently used in South Africa. Still, Dr. Abosngile Balarane, CEO of the South African Poultry Association, stated last month that it was the “long-term solution” in an interview with Daily Maverick.

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