JOHANNESBURG, South Africa- South Africa's Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ), confirmed three cases of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, in the area.

They said, one case of bird flu was detected in the quails that are hatched, grown and slaughtered on the farm. The second one was identified in wild ducks that were kept domestically as pets, for recreational reasons. The two were identified within 10 km of each other. The third outbreak was detected in a semi commercial farm. The government has already sent experts to the infected areas, to prevent the disease from spreading.

"The farms and plots affected have been put under quarantine and the terms of the quarantine explained to the owners. The owners have been advised on bio-security measures that were to be taken, to prevent spreading of the virus to neighbouring houses by humans and also by faeces of affected birds. They have also been advised to secure bird enclosures with bird nets to prevent wild birds from entering them," said READ.

The government has also deployed some officials to collect some information within three kilometres from the infected area, to assess the extent of the spread to neighbouring farms.

The government warned that since wild birds are often attracted to the domestic cages, by available leftover food, farmers were also advised to remove feed when it is not finished.

The agricultural department said, the primary source of infection in domesticated flock is contact with wild birds. READ said, it could be transmitted within a farm through carriers like utensils, workers and their clothes and contaminated litter. Even though bird flu affects both domestic and wild birds, the latter are more resistant to the disease.