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UAE bans poultry imports from Czech and Togo

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The United Arab Emirates has banned the import of all live birds and poultry products from the Czech Republic and Togo after an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus in both countries, the official WAM news agency said.

It said Environment and Water Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Kindi had issued the ban to prevent the spread of the deadly virus to animals or humans in the Gulf Arab country.

On July 12, Czech vets said they found cases of the type of the bird flu virus at two more farms that house about 71,000 poultry, bringing the number of outbreaks to four.

Last month, Togo became the seventh West African country hit by the H5N1 virus after tests confirmed an outbreak of the deadly virus at a poultry farm.

No data were immediately available on the size of the UAE’s poultry imports from the Czech Republic or Togo.

The H5N1 virus has spread into the Middle East, Africa and Europe since it re-emerged in Asia in 2003. More than 30 countries have reported bird flu outbreaks in the past year, mostly in wild birds.

Although it remains largely an animal disease, it can kill people who come into close contact with infected birds.

Globally, H5N1 has killed nearly 200 people out of more than 300 known cases, according to the World Health Organisation. None of the victims were from Europe.

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