Egg Industry News and Commentary

  —  Jun 15

Outbreak of H5N8 Avian Influenza in Zimbabwe  


Authorities in Zimbabwe which neighbors the republic of South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana reported an outbreak of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza on a large commercial farm east of the capital Harare. It is understood that close to one million birds have either died or are being depleted nationwide.

There is no epidemiologic evidence of how the virus entered the nation, but migratory birds are suspected in transcontinental spread. Accordingly, surveys of both indigenous and migratory birds would be appropriate.


The major issue is whether the infection can be contained. Given the socio-economic conditions in of Zimbabwe, it is doubtful whether the Department of Agriculture could mount an effective campaign with compensation.

If in fact the disease has been introduced by migratory birds, there is every likelihood that it may extend southward to the Republic of South Africa which has a large poultry population divided between commercial operations with high biosecurity and a very extensive subsistence poultry population which could support an endemic status if the virus is introduced.