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Brussels, 23 March 2006

Avian Influenza: Measures for Sweden, France and Israel agreed

Following the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a game farm in Sweden last week, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today agreed to a Commission proposal to add a break-down of all the Swedish localities covered by the protection, surveillance and buffer zones to the Annex of Decision 2006/135/EC laying down measures for avian influenza in poultry. The zones cover the entire Kalmar Län area where a case of H5 avian influenza was detected in a mallard (duck) on 17 March (see IP/06/330). The affected farm is located in an area which was already under restriction since end of February due to the occurrence of H5N1 in wild birds. The Swedish authorities immediately applied all necessary measures laid down in the Avian Influenza Directive and the Decision on avian influenza in domestic poultry when the outbreak was detected on the game farm. This list agreed today aims to provide legal certainty with regard to the area where the movement restrictions and control measures must be applied, and will enable trading partners to regionalise import bans they may impose as a result of the outbreak. The measures in these zones will remain in place until 24 April 2006, subject to review.

A slight adjustment to the part of the Annex of the Decision on avian influenza in domestic poultry referring to France was also agreed by the Standing Committee today. The date until which the measures in the surveillance zone in the Dombes region (see MEX/06/0302) must be applied was changed from 31 March to 27 March 2006, due to the progress made in bringing the avian influenza situation under control there.

The Standing Committee also endorsed a Commission proposal to ban imports of live poultry, poultry meat, eggs and poultry products from Israel. Heat-treated poultry products from Israel will still be allowed to be imported, as will meat and meat products from poultry slaughtered before 15 February 2006 (considered to be outside the incubation period of the virus). A Decision was already taken last week following confirmed outbreaks, and further suspected outbreaks, of highly pathogenic H5N1 in Israeli turkey farms.

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