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Amendment of February 4, 2004, Order To Embargo Birds and Bird Products Imported From Gaza, the West Bank, and the Ivory Coast (Co

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SUMMARY:

On February 4, 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an order to ban immediately the import of all birds (Class: Aves) from specified countries, subject to limited exemptions for returning pet birds of U.S. origin and certain processed bird-derived products. HHS/CDC took this step because birds from these countries potentially can infect humans with avian influenza (influenza A/[H5N1]). The February 4, 2004, order complemented a similar action taken at the same time by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

On March 10, 2004, HHS/CDC lifted the embargo of birds and bird products from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) because of the documented public-health and animal health measures taken by Hong Kong officials to prevent spread of the outbreak within the HKSAR, and the absence of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 cases in Hong Kong's domestic and wild bird populations. USDA/APHIS took a similar action. On September 28, 2004, HHS/CDC extended the embargo on birds and bird products to include Malaysia because of the documented cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N1 in poultry in Malaysia. On July 20, 2005, USDA/APHIS adopted as a final rule the interim rule that became effective on February 4, 2004, which amended its regulations to prohibit or restrict the importation of birds, poultry, and unprocessed birds and poultry products from regions that have reported the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in poultry. (See 70 Federal Register 41608 [July 20, 2005].) As the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have confirmed additional cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1), USDA/APHIS has added additional countries to its ban. Because of the documentation of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in poultry, HHS/CDC added the following countries to its embargo: Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine on December 29, 2005; Nigeria on February 8, 2006; India on February 22, 2006; Egypt on February 27, 2006; Niger on March 2, 2006; Albania, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, and Burma (Myanmar) on March 15, 2006; Israel on March 20, 2006; Afghanistan on March 21, 2006; Jordan on March 29, 2006; Burkina Faso on April 10, 2006; and Pakistan on April 10, 2006.

On April 11, 2006, OIE reported confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in poultry in Gaza. On April 25, 2006, OIE reported confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in poultry in the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). At this time, HHS/CDC is adding Gaza, the West Bank, and the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire) to its current embargo. CDC is including the West Bank in its determination because the administrative regions of Gaza and the West Bank are the same with respect to animal movement and trade. USDA has also taken a similar action with respect to this region. This action is effective on April 28, 2006, and will remain in effect until further notice.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On April 11, 2006, OIE reported confirmation of highly pathogenic avian Start Printed Page 26543influenza H5N1 in chickens and ducks in several farms in Gaza.

On April 25, 2006, OIR reported confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in chickens and ducks in Abidjan district, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire).

Introduction of birds infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 into the United States could lead to outbreaks of disease among birds and among the human population, a significant public health threat. Banning the importation of all avian species from affected countries is an effective means of limiting this threat. HHS/CDC is therefore taking this action to reduce the likelihood of introduction or spread of influenza A H5N1 into the United States.

Immediate Action

Therefore, pursuant to 42 CFR 71.32(b), HHS/CDC is amending the February 4, 2004, order to add Gaza, the West Bank, and the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire) to the list of countries subject to the order's embargo of birds and products derived from birds. All other portions of the February 4, 2004, order, as further amended on March 10, 2004, September 28, 2004, December 29, 2005, February 8, 2006, February 22, 2006, February 27, 2006, March 2, 2006, March 15, 2006, March 20, 2006, March 21, 2006; March 29, 2006; April 10, 2006; and April 10, 2006 shall remain in effect until further notice.

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Julie Louise Gerberding,

Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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[FR Doc. E6-6875 Filed 5-4-06; 8:45 am]

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