GASSQC bans poultry imports for fear of bird flu [Archives:2006/914/Local News]

January 23 2006

SANA'A, Jan. 22 ) The General Authority for Specifications, Standards and Quality Control (GASSQC) last week banned entry of refrigerated poultry imported from countries suffering proliferation of bird flu.

The authority permitted importing refrigerated poultry from France and Brazil since both countries are free of bird flu.

GASSQC General Manager Ahmad Al-Bishah noted that the authority follows up the epidemic's development at the international level in cooperation with concerned international organizations.

A committee chaired by the Minister of Public Health Population recently was formed to monitor any proliferation of bird flu, with field teams periodically visiting poultry farms throughout the republic. The committee officially announced that Yemen is free of the epidemic and that the disease cannot be transmitted by consuming chicken or eggs. The disease is transmitted by air; however, the virus dies at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Locally, no campaigns have been launched to raise awareness among poulterers and poultry slaughterhouse workers about risks of the epidemic and the need to use masks to ensure more safety from infection.

Slaughterhouse owner Saleh Ali Ghailan said there is no awareness of the epidemic. He learned from the media that people died of bird flu in some countries, but he never paid attention to the issue since bird flu does not exist in Yemen or in neighboring countries.

Veterinarian and Marib Poultry Firm deputy director Wahib Sa'eed Mansour noted that Yemeni poultry farms are free of avian flu despite the fact that health authorities do not monitor poultry. Many poultry firms have cooperated with the ministries of agriculture and public health in launching campaigns to develop awareness in poultry farmers.

Concerning some bird deaths in the country, Mansour mentioned that Yemeni birds die from epidemics called “Tuksil” and “Jimpuda,” which are less serious than avian flu. He said some poulterers do not follow any health instructions when discovering birds infected by an epidemic, which require burial in remote places.