Mozambique reports bird flu outbreak on laying hen farm

(This Oct. 19 story has been corrected to say H7 genotype, not H5N1, in paragraph 1 and also to clarify that the WOAH communication was on Thursday, not Tuesday, in the same paragraph)

PARIS (Reuters) – Mozambique has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, among poultry in the southern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Thursday.

The bird flu outbreak was found on a farm of 54,207 laying hens aged between 23 and 30 weeks kept in a high biosecurity facility, the Paris-based body said, quoting information from Mozambique’s health authorities.

Neighbouring South Africa, a leading poultry producer on the continent, is currently grappling with a major bird flu outbreak that killed millions of chickens.

The spread of the highly contagious virus is raising concern among governments and the poultry industry after it ravaged flocks around the globe in the past years, disrupting supply, fueling food prices and posing a risk of human transmission.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Gus Trompiz)