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Karen Eggert (301) 734-7280
Jerry Redding (202) 720-6959  

USDA BANS SOME FRENCH POULTRY DUE TO HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has placed a temporary ban on the importation of poultry and commercial shipments of live birds, hatching eggs and unprocessed avian products from the  French Department (state) of Ain based on the diagnosis of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in commercially raised  turkeys.  The ban became effective Feb. 25.

The restriction is only on the Department of Ain, not the entire country of France .

Previously, USDA has placed bans on the following countries due to the presence of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in commercial flocks:  Cambodia , Egypt , India , Indonesia , Japan , Laos , Kazakhstan , Malaysia , Nigeria , People's Republic of China , Romania , Russia , South Korea , Thailand , Turkey , Ukraine and Vietnam .

Processed poultry products from these countries must be accompanied by a USDA permit.  Permits are issued by APHIS’ Veterinary Services.  They confirm that the products were treated according to government requirements.  

U.S.-origin pet birds and performing birds will be allowed to return from France only after entering one of the three USDA Quarantine Centers for 30 days.

AI viruses can be classified into low pathogenicity (LPAI) and high pathogenicity (HPAI) forms based on the severity of the illness they cause in poultry.  Most AI strains are classified as LPAI and cause few clinical signs in infected birds.  HPAI involves a high mortality rate among birds and its detection prompts an immediate federal response.  USDA currently has an interlocking system of safeguards in place to protect the U.S. poultry industry from avian influenza including trade restrictions, ongoing federal-state-industry surveillance and emergency preparedness and outreach programs to ensure early detection and rapid response to any signs of the virus.

For more information on AI, please visit: http://www.usda.gov/birdflu .

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