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Brussels, 5 September 2006

Avian Influenza: German vaccination, Romanian imports

A Commission proposal to resume a regionalised ban on poultry products from Romania, and another proposal to allow Germany to proceed with a research-oriented vaccination programme against avian influenza were backed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today. Certain Member States who have had to deal with more recent cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza within their territories also took the opportunity at the Standing Committee to outline how they successfully contained and eradicated the disease. Currently, there are no outbreaks of avian influenza in either domestic poultry or wild birds in the EU, and protection and surveillance zones around previous outbreaks have now all been lifted. Member States are continuing to apply heightened surveillance and preventive measures against the disease, however, to mitigate the risk of further outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza occurring within the EU.

Romanian imports

Member States backed a Commission proposal to adapt the import ban on poultry products from all of Romania, which was imposed at the beginning of June due to the spread of avian influenza in the country (see IP/06/733). Given the improvements in the disease situation, the measures will be lifted in some parts of Romania.The regionalised ban which was previously in place for all poultry products from the Danube delta, south and east of the Carpate Mountains, will continue to apply. It was agreed in the Standing Committee that it was necessary to maintain the regionalised ban for Romania given the previous disease situation there and the need for precaution, in particular during the autumn migration period. The measures will remain in place until the end of 2006, and will be subject to review.

German vaccination plan

The Commission and Member States endorsed a vaccination campaign against avian influenza that the German authorities intend to carry out on 3 commercial farms in North Rhine Westphalia over the next 2 years. The vaccination will be carried out for research purposes only, as part of a major field study to determine the effects and results of vaccinating against avian influenza. None of the poultry used in the research, nor their meat and eggs, will be put on the market.

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