The continuing consumption of live chicken must be checkmated, especially at this time of a state of emergency in the poultry sector.The sale of live chickens in South Africa has been suspended until South African veterinarians can verify that the country’s chickens are free from the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza, said Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana.

At a media briefing on Thursday, the Minister announced the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ interventions following the first ever outbreak of the feared H5N8-strain of bird flu on two farms in Mpumalanga.

Zokwana said the blanket trade ban will be in place for as long as it takes to declare the country free from the disease.

On Monday night the department confirmed a second case of avian flu in Standerton, after the first outbreak in a broiler breeder site near Villiers last Thursday.

The H5N8 strain, which does not pose a direct threat to humans, has already led to the deaths of millions of birds worldwide. Wild water birds play the biggest role in the rapid spread of the virus.