The Philippines temporarily banned the importation of poultry products coming from the Russian Federation, which was recently hit by the dreaded bird flu or H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
This was contained in Department of Agriculture’s (DA) memorandum order (MO) no. 17, which was recently signed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Based on MO 17, there are ongoing outbreaks of bird flu in several areas of the Russian Federation as reported by their veterinary authorities in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Worst, Russian Federation also reported to World Health Organization (WHO) its first case of human transmission of H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
MO 17 contains emergency measures for the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products from the Russian Federation, including banning the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen.
DA also immediately suspended the processing, evaluation of the application, and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance to the above-stated commodities.
At the same time, Dar ordered the stoppage and confiscation of all shipments of the above-stated commodities with the exception on heat-treated products, provided it will undergo risk analysis to be performed by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
“There is a need to prevent the entry of HPAI virus to protect the health of the local poultry population,” Dar said.
It was just in January of this year when OIE declared the Philippines free from avian influenza or bird flu.
The OIE declaration came less than a year since A (H5N6) was detected in a commercial layer poultry farm in Pampanga and backyard poultry farms in a village in Rizal.
To recall, the Philippines also reported bird flu outbreak cases in 2017 and in 2018.
BAI reminded poultry farmers and industry stakeholders to remain vigilant and report any unusual mortalities to their respective farm veterinarians or nearest government veterinary or agriculture office.