• DA bans Indiana chicken imports

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    In an effort to protect the Philippines’ local poultry population and ensure safety of consumers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has imposed a temporary ban on importation ban of chicken and wild bird products from Indiana because of reported avian influenza outbreak there.

    In Memorandum Order 3-16, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala ordered the temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds–including poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen–originating from Dubois county in Indiana.

    The ban stemmed from a report by Dr. John Clifford, deputy administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture, to the Office of International des Epizooties (OIE) that there has been an outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus in the state of Indiana.

    The outbreak of HPAI serotype H7N8 has affected commercial turkey flocks, Clifford said.

    At present, there are 11 territories in mainland United States with existing importation ban–Arkansas, California, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

    It was mid-2015 when avian influenza virus hit the mainland, spreading like wildfire in major poultry-producing territories.

    “The ban will remain in place until highly pathogenic avian influenza event in the poultry-producing areas have been resolved and that the risk of contamination from importing poultry and such products is negligible,” Alcala said.

    The DA is regularly monitoring advisories from OIC to protect local bird population from threats of avian influenza, as well as to ensure the safety of consumers.

    The Philippines remains the only country in Southeast Asia free from bird flu.

    Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) as well as pet birds and wild birds.

    In its notifiable form, the disease can be divided into two categories–the high and low pathogenecity.

    HPAI virus spreads rapidly and may cause serious disease and result in high mortality rates (up to 100 percent within 48 hours).

    The low pathogenic avian influenza can cause mild disease that may be undetected or show no symptoms at all in some species of birds.

    Manila imports about 10 percent, or over 45 million kilos of chicken (leg quarters) and more than 110 million kilos of mechanically deboned meat from US suppliers annually.

    The Philippines is also importing about 150,000-200,000 heads of US-grown breeders, which account for 50 percent of the total layers in the country.

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