Ban On French Chicken Import

RIYADH — The Saudi Ministry of Agriculture yesterday imposed a temporary ban on the import of chickens and eggs from Moselle in Lorraine, France, as a preventive measure to counter bird flu, which according to latest indications is again spreading across Europe.
calendar icon 19 July 2007
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The ban has been announced following information received from the Paris-based World Health Organization (WHO), the Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday. Since 2003, 191 people have died after being infected with the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

Earlier this year, Margaret Chan, chief of the World Health Organization, warned that bird flu remains a global threat.

It has been reported that three wild swans that died in France this week had avian flu. This year’s outbreaks probably spread through the migration of infected birds that leave traces of the virus on the surface of water when touching down, in turn infecting less transient local birds. Dead swans are often the first sign of an outbreak, said Albert Osterhaus, director of New-Flu Bird, a Dutch-based European project that brings together ornithologists and virologists.

No case of bird flu has officially been reported in the Kingdom, although two have been reported in neighboring Kuwait. The first was detected in November 2005, in a peacock that was in quarantine at an airport and which had been imported from Asia. In the second case, an infected flamingo was found on a beach. However, it has not been clear whether the strain of the virus found in Kuwait is the same as the deadly version that devastated poultry in Asia and triggered fears of a human pandemic.

Source: ArabNews
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