Armenia Bans Poultry Imports Amid Fears Of Bird Flu Outbreak


Feb 07 2007

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 7, ARMENPRESS: Armenian health authorities have
imposed a temporary ban on poultry imports from a number of countries
out of concern over the spread of the bird flu virus. These countries
are Russia, England, Ukraine, Turkey, Romanian, Hungary, Iran and
South East Asian countries.

"We cannot rule out the possibility of the bird flu virus spreading to
Armenia," Anushavan Aghajanian, head of a secretariat set up to handle
a World Bank credit to help Armenia withstand the avian influenza
threats, said. He said all the necessary preventive measures have
been reinforced, especially at border checkpoints.

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has claimed dozens of human lives
since it first appeared in Asia in 2003. It has since spread worldwide,
and scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form transmissible
between humans, sparking a global pandemic.

Armenia has about 4.5 million chicken at eight poultry farms and kept
by rural households. Aghajanian said none of farms reported a case
of chicken deaths.

Last year the World Bank has approved a $6.25 million loan to Armenia
designed to help its government guard against and, if necessary,
cope with a possible outbreak of bird flu.

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