NAMIBIA – The government of Namibia through the veterinary department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry have instituted suspension of live poultry imports from 10 European countries following the outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The suspension of the import and in-transit movement of live poultry and birds affects imports from the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Ukraine, Belgium, Poland, Sweden and France, reports The Namibian.

Chief veterinary officer Dr Albertina Shilongo said in a statement that since the incubation period of the disease is 21 days, as set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the suspension will be effective from 21 days prior.

“We are informing all importers in the affected countries about the immediate suspension of imports and the in-transit movements of live poultry.”

Chief veterinary officer – Dr Albertina Shilongo

To this end, all previously issued import and in-transit permits have been cancelled and recalled with immediate effect.

However, cooked poultry meat products for commercial purposes are exempted from the ban but one requires a veterinary import permit.

“The notification replaces the veterinary notification to importers that was issued in December 2020. We are informing all importers in the affected countries about the immediate suspension of imports and the in-transit movements of live poultry, birds, raw uncooked poultry products, live ostrich and raw ostrich products from all those countries due to the outbreak of HPAI in those countries,” said Shilongo.

Meanwhile, as of May 2020, 58 countries and one region in Namibia have been recognized as free of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also known as sheep and goat plague, with Russia and Lesotho being the latest countries added to the list last year according to FAO.

Globally, the number of outbreaks of PPR fell by two-thirds in recent years, showing the commitment of the international community to combatting this highly contagious animal disease and raising hopes for meeting the goal of global eradication by 2030.

PPR can be deadly for animals with a 30-70 percent fatality rate but it does not infect people. That said, the disease has major effects on people due to the severe impact on food security, community resilience, and livelihoods.

Just over 1,200 global PPR outbreaks were recorded in 2019 compared to more than 3,500 in 2015 according to the new data.

The decrease in outbreaks is attributed to the impact of vaccination campaigns in more than 50 countries.

The campaigns were led and funded by countries with support from FAO and partners. In just 12 of these countries, over 300 million goats and sheep were vaccinated between 2015 and 2018.

However, two regions have been the worst hit by PPR, and reported the majority of outbreaks between 2015-2019 i.e. Asia over 75 percent and Africa over 24 percent, although the disease may also be under-reported.

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