South Africa has reported eight more cases of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Johannesburg - South Africa reported eight more cases of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF) said. 

"These new outbreaks bring the total number of outbreaks to 24 since June 2017. Ten outbreaks in commercial chickens, three outbreaks in commercial ostrich, five outbreaks in wild birds, three outbreak in birds that were kept as a hobby and three outbreaks in backyard poultry," spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo said in a statement on Friday.

"All affected properties have been placed under quarantine and disease control measures have commenced. The continued cooperation of the public and the poultry industry, in the timeous reporting of sick and dying birds to Government Veterinary Services, is vital for the effectiveness of disease control measures instituted. DAFF therefore thanks the public and the poultry industry for their support in this regard." 

Molapo said that in his meeting with the industry on Monday, Minister Senzeni Zokwana, they raised concerns on compensation and guidelines relating to the principles and guidelines of compensating affected farms. 

He said that the draft guidelines had been completed and were subject to ministerial approval. The approved guidelines would be released to the industry and public by September 1.

"The industry also requested to be given permission to import fertile eggs to close the supply gap as a result of culled birds. Only one company has submitted an application on 24 August 2017 for the importation of hatching eggs; the department is still performing the prescribed risk analyses to determine the appropriate level of risk," Molapo said. 

"We need to conduct a thorough risk assessment in order to avoid exposing the country to other disease risks. The basic work has been conducted and there are two options which will be presented to the poultry industry. The first one is for the risk mitigation to be conducted in South Africa through stringent quarantine measures on arrival of the hatching eggs from their country of origin."

Molapo said that the second option would be for stringent quarantine measures in the country of origin where eggs will come from compartments free of specified diseases that DAFF would approve, with less stringent post arrival quarantine measures.