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Addition of Malaysia To List of Regions in Which Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Subtype H5N1 Is Considered To Exist

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that amended the regulations concerning the importation of animals and animal products by adding Malaysia to the list of regions in which highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 is considered to exist. We took that action to prevent the introduction of HPAI subtype H5N1 in the United States.

DATES:

The interim rule became effective on August 7, 2004.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Julie Garnier, Staff Veterinarian, Technical Trade Issues Team, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-5677.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is an extremely infectious and fatal disease of poultry and a wide variety of other birds. HPAI can strike poultry quickly without any infection warning signs and, once established, the disease can spread rapidly from flock to flock. In some instances, strains of HPAI viruses can be infectious to people. Human infections with AI viruses under natural conditions have been documented in recent years. Particularly alarming is the HPAI strain of most of these outbreaks, H5N1, which has crossed the species barrier and caused severe disease, with high mortality, in humans. Recent outbreaks of HPAI in Southeast Asia have caused significant concern among health authorities worldwide because of the potential for the human and avian flu viruses to swap genes, creating a new virus to which humans would have little or no immunity.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA or the Department) regulates the importation of animals and animal products into the United States to guard against the introduction of animal diseases. The regulations in 9 CFR parts 93, 94, and 95 (referred to below as the regulations) govern the importation of certain animals, birds, poultry, meat, other animal products and byproducts, hay, and straw into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of various animal diseases, including HPAI subtype H5N1.

In an interim rule effective August 7, 2004, and published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2005 (70 FR 5043-5044, Docket No. 04-091-1), we amended the regulations in part 94 by adding Malaysia to the list of regions in § 94.6(d) where HPAI subtype H5N1 exists.

Comments on the interim rule were required to be received on or before April 4, 2005. We received one comment by that date, from a private citizen. The commenter supported the interim rule.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule and in this document, we are adopting the interim rule as a final rule without change.

This action also affirms the information contained in the interim rule concerning Executive Order 12866 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Order 12988, and the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Further, for this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review under Executive Order 12866.

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List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 94

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PART 94—RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, FOWL PEST (FOWL PLAGUE), EXOTIC NEWCASTLE DISEASE, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONS

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Accordingly, we are adopting as a final rule, without change, the interim rule that amended

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Done in Washington, DC, this 6th day of June 2005.

Elizabeth E. Gaston,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-11504 Filed 6-9-05; 8:45 am]

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