The confirmed outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in Southern Africa has prompted a regional meeting by SADC and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to assess the preparedness by member states to fight the disease.

The meeting kicked off today in South Africa and will end on Friday 4 August.

The disease has so far been reported in the DRC, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

FAO Sub Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri said they are working with governments in order to control the situation.

The outbreak challenges the preparedness and response capacities of countries and trigger a reconfiguration of the structure of poultry production, policies, regulations and trade both at national and regional level.

The h5n8 virus is suspected to have emerged from wild migratory birds, passing the disease onto resident wild birds.