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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Agriculture prohibited the importation and entry of birds from Pennsylvania

Agriculture Secretary Ramón González Beiró

By The Star Staff

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Ramón González Beiró, prohibited the importation and entry of birds from Pennsylvania as a precaution to protect local poultry production.

The policy became effective through administrative order 2023-10.

An aggressive strain of avian flu capable of wiping out entire flocks of domestic birds is sweeping through the United States — and as of this week, Pennsylvania has more cases than any other state in the country, data from the Department of Agriculture show.

In the last 30 days, more than 215,000 birds in Pennsylvania have been affected by avian flu — meaning they live on farms or in backyards where the disease has been confirmed. Most avian flu viruses are mild, but the strain affecting birds in the state and across the country is “highly pathogenic,” the USDA says, causing severe disease and high bird death rates.

The Secretary emphasized that the entry of live birds, their commercial eggs, and incubator eggs from other states may be allowed if the importer presents a certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), demonstrating that the products come from a non-risk area. The DA and the Veterinary Laboratory will evaluate it.

The order will remain in effect until it is repealed or amended as avian influenza progresses in the United States.

“We are responding to the situation quickly and taking preventive measures to protect the poultry industry from bird flu. At the moment, we have not reported or detected any cases. We continue to receive products from other states that do not represent a threat to our industry to date,” said González.

On the other hand, Secretary reiterated the importance of raising public awareness. “I call on the public to avoid bringing these products either by personal hauling, some means of transportation, or mail services since they could bring the disease. Little by little, we have managed to increase the island’s poultry production, so it is essential for everyone to ensure the production of our food,” said González.

Bird flu is deadly, can spread to other animals, and has even been detected in humans. Unfortunately, until now, no cure has been identified to combat this disease. As a result, infected animals must be euthanized.

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