Outbreak of bird flu hits ostrich farm in South Africa, but authorities says it is unlikely to pose threat to humans

An outbreak of bird flu has hit an ostrich farm in South Africa, but authorities said it was unlikely to pose a threat to humans, though additional tests were being carried out after another strain killed eight people in China.

The outbreak has prompted restrictions on the movement of the big birds and their products in the Western Cape province, the Western Cape ministry of agriculture said in a statement today.

Tests samples from an ostrich farm near Oudtshoorn, the centre of South Africa's ostrich export industry, found the presence of the H7N1 virus, the ministry said.

Another strain, H7N9, has killed eight people in eastern China since it was confirmed in humans for the first time last month.

Two years ago, South Africa culled 10,000 ostriches after an outbreak of another, less virulent form of bird flu halted ostrich-meat exports to the European Union.