The Agriculture Department has imposed a temporary ban on poultry imports from Dubois County, Indiana in the United States, where an outbreak of bird flu was reported.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alacala issued Memorandum Order No. 03-16, ordering a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen from Dubois County.
The department said the ban was based on a report submitted by Dr. John Clifford, deputy administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture, to the Office of Internationale Des Epizooties about an outbreak of the H7N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in Dubois County.
OIE is an inter-governmental organization that informs governments of the occurrence of animal diseases and ways to control the diseases, coordinates studies devoted to the surveillance and control of animal diseases and harmonizes regulations to facilitate trade in animals and animal products.
The outbreak has affected the commercial turkey flock in Dubois County as confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
Alcala ordered the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances on the importation of poultry products from the affected US territory.
Alcala also instructed veterinary quarantine officers and inspectors at all major ports in the country to stop and confiscate all shipments of poultry and poultry products (with the exception on heat treated products) from the said area.
Alcala said frozen poultry meat with slaughterhouse/process date of 21 days prior to the HPAI outbreaks were allowed to enter the country, subject to veterinary quarantine rules and regulations.
The Philippines remains free from the highly pathogenic avian influenza or bird flu.
Alcala said the ban and other emergency measures were necessary to protect the health of the public and the local poultry population.