The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued an interim rule prohibiting the importation of birds and poultry products from regions where any subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza exists. 

Previous restrictions covered only the H5N1 subtype of avian influenza. APHIS is also adding restrictions for live poultry and birds that have been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of HPAI or that have moved through regions where any HPAI subtype exists.

Under the interim rule, live birds or poultry that have been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza are prohibited entry into the U.S. These restrictions also apply to hatching eggs laid by birds or poultry vaccinated for the H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. Non-vaccinated birds, poultry and their hatching eggs imported into the U.S. must be accompanied by a certificate stating that the birds have not been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. The importation of live birds, poultry and hatching eggs that travel through areas where any HPAI subtype is known to exist is also prohibited.

Comments on the new rule will be accepted through March 25, 2011.