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CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape Agriculture Department has urged people to report sick or dead birds to the authorities immediately.This comes after two possible cases of avian flu have been reported on two ostrich farms in the Heidelberg area.The department has placed both farms under quarantine while it investigates the incidents.The department’s Petro van Rhyn says: “Avian influenza is a controlled disease in terms of the Animal Diseases Act. It is thus very important to report sick or dead birds to local authorities, such as local vets, public health services or community leaders.”This is the first report of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), type H5N8 virus, being picked up in the Western Cape since the recent outbreaks in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Free State in June.Those outbreaks involved seven commercial chicken farms, two groups of backyard chicken, three sets of wild birds and one group of domestic geese.(Edited by Shimoney Regter)