27/10/2005

DARD issue bird flu travel advice

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has issued advice to travellers who are returning to, or entering, countries currently affected by 'bird flu'.

Avian Influenza - 'bird flu' - has now been confirmed in a number of countries and, as such, advice has been issued to travellers going to or from countries including Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong), Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Maylasia, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

The evidence available is that humans who have had confirmed cases of bird flu had very close contact with infected birds. However, DARD has said that travellers should not visit live bird markets, farms or other places that may be contaminated by bird faeces.

Jonathan Guy, DARD Portal Divisional Veterinary Officer said: "We need everyone's co-operation to ensure that Northern Ireland remains disease free. This is essential if we are to protect not just the health and well being of our poultry and wildfowl but also human health. Please help DARD to help you keep our country free from Epizootic Disease."

Mr Guy urged people who have had any contact with poultry or other birds or have visited a live bird market, farm or any other place that may be contaminated by bird faeces and are returning to Northern Ireland, that it was imperative not to have any contact with live poultry or any other birds in Ireland for at least seven days. In addition:
  • Dry clean any clothes that may have had any contact with poultry or any other birds or their faeces.
  • Clean and disinfect any footwear that was worn at any live bird market, on a farm or at any other place that may have been contaminated by bird faeces.
In relation to imports, the EU Commission has introduced a series of safeguard measures which include a ban on the importation into the EU of live poultry and birds other than poultry.

There are also import controls on most poultry products from affected countries. Travellers must not bring into the country any meat products, particularly poultry products, in personal luggage.

Further information may be obtained at www.dardni.gov.uk.

(MB/SP)

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