Bird flu: Mozambique extends poultry ban

Mozambique’s livestock authorities announced a ban on Saturday on poultry imports from several European countries that have reported cases of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Adolfo Mavale, the head of animal health at Mozambique’s National Livestock Directorate, said a ban already in place on imports from Asia will be extended to cover several countries in Europe.

“We have now extended [the ban] to some European countries where the disease has been reported,” Mavale said on state radio.

Recent cases of the deadly strain of avian flu have emerged in birds in Croatia, Romania, Turkey and Russia. No human cases have been reported in Europe.

Health authorities are tracking the H5N1 strain of bird flu because of fears it could mutate into a form that is easily spread to and between humans, setting off a global flu pandemic. In its current form, the virus is deadly to birds but not easily transmitted to humans.

Authorities in Mozambique met on Friday to discuss how to respond if bird flu reaches the country.

“We are alerting everybody so that in the case they have mass deaths among their chickens ...
they should immediately contact the relevant authorities and take the necessary measures,” Mavale said.

Of particular concern to Mozambique, Mavale said, is the possibility that migratory birds could carry the virus to Southern Africa.

Several other African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Mauritius, Angola and Togo, have taken similar measures to prevent the spread of the virus from affected countries.—Sapa-AP

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