Saudi’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has lifted the ban on the import of poultry from Malaysia, Poland, Austria and Serbia.
The ban on live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from the four countries was imposed due to concerns over bird flu.
However, the lifting of the ban was based on follow-up of the epidemiological situation by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), said the director general of the Department of Animal Risk Assessment Dr. Sanad Al-Harbi.
The reassessment showed that no new hot spots for bird flu have been registered during the past three months in the above-mentioned countries, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Avian influenza has been spreading across various parts of the world in recent months, with Saudi Arabia also announcing temporary poultry import bans from Zimbabwe, Belgium, Vietnam and the US state of Tennessee.
According to the OIE’s latest report (dated August 7), a total of 2o countries have been affected by various strains of the aviation flu in Africa, Europe, Asia and the US.
“The zoonotic avian influenza strains that have become endemic in China (H7N9) and in parts of Africa and Asia (H5N1) create the most significant public health risks,” the OIE said in its report.
“Veterinary authorities have struggled to get on top of the situation, which has allowed these viruses to circulate in poultry populations. This creates the risk of mutations from co-infections, and public health risks through exposure of people during rearing and slaughter.
“Although there are seasonal trends, the risk is year round since the viruses have become established and self-sustaining in bird populations,” it added.