WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2011
– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued an interim rule prohibiting the importation of birds and poultry products from regions where any subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) exists. APHIS’ previous restrictions covered only the H5N1 subtype of avian influenza. The changes are necessary to prevent the introduction of HPAI into the United States.
APHIS is also adding restrictions for live poultry and birds that have been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of HPAI or that have moved through regions where any HPAI subtype exists.
Under the interim rule, live birds or poultry that have been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza are prohibited entry into the United States. These restrictions also apply to hatching eggs laid by birds or poultry vaccinated for the H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. Non-vaccinated birds, poultry and their hatching eggs imported into the United States must be accompanied by a certificate stating that the birds have not been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. These changes are necessary because vaccinated poultry and birds may produce false positive test results when tested for HPAI during the required 30-day quarantine after importation into the United States.
APHIS is also prohibiting the importation of live birds, poultry and hatching eggs that travel through areas where any HPAI subtype is known to exist. Live birds and poultry are at risk because they cannot be kept in completely sealed containers and protected from contamination.
Also under the new requirements, pet and theatrical birds of U.S. origin that have been in regions where any HPAI subtype is known to exist must enter the United States through certain ports of entry. Previous regulations only applied to U.S. origin pet and theatrical birds returning to the United States from areas where the HPAI subtype H5N1 was known to exist.
In connection with the changes related to HPAI, APHIS is establishing a list of regions where any HPAI subtype may exist. The list will be maintained on the APHIS National Center for Import and Export website at www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/animal_import/animal_imports_hpai.shtml rather than maintained in the Code of Federal Regulations. The online posting will allow updates to be made quickly and easily.
APHIS is making these changes, among others, to protect the United States from the introduction of HPAI.
This interim rule is published in today’s Jan. 24 Federal Register and becomes effective upon publication.