• United States



Avian Flu Tracking

Jul 01, 20062 mins
CSO and CISODisaster RecoveryIT Leadership

Scientists seek more tracking systems as nations restrict poultry trade.

Scientists from more than 100 countries at a United Nations meeting in Rome last month urged governments to devote more resources to tracking migratory birds that spread avian flu, and to curbing illegal trafficking in animals that could spread the virus.

The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health called for the implementation of a $6.8 million plan funded by governments and donors to expand testing and tracking of migrating wild birds through the use of radio transmitters and satellites. Ecologists and ornithologists then could analyze the data to provide early warnings about the spread of the avian flu virus.

In response to outbreaks, nations around the globe have already restricted trade on poultry imports to protect domestic food supplies (see table). But that has not addressed another problem: illegal animal trafficking.

Avian Flu Restricts Trade

A list of nations recently imposing trade limits after H5N1 outbreaks:

table 1 >

DateNationTrade Limit imposed

Feb. 6


Total or partial bans on poultry product imports from countries where H5N1 found.

Feb. 8–March 21

United States

Ban on poultry products from Nigeria, India, Egypt, Niger, Albania, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Myanmar, Israel, Afghanistan. Trade restrictions on commercial poultry products from countries where H5N1 detected.

Feb. 25–26

43 nations (including U.S.)

Total or partial bans on poultry exports from France following H5N1 outbreak at turkey farm in Ain.

March 6


Suspended supply of live chickens from Guangdong province to Hong Kong for three weeks after avian flu detected in city adjacent to Hong Kong.

March 16

European Union

Ban on Israeli poultry products slaughtered after

Feb. 15.

May 18

United States

Noninfectious processed bird products must have USDA entry permit. Ban on poultry from Jordan, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Gaza and the West Bank, Ivory Coast, Sudan.

end table 1 >

According to BirdLife International, a partnership of conservation organizations, millions of wild birds are trapped each year for the caged-bird trade.

A significant portion of this trade is thought to be illegal and untested, and it represents a risk to address in the effort to stop a pan­demic. Illegal animal trafficking “is the most frequent way of spreading the disease from one region to another,” says Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary officer at the FAO. To combat the problem, he says trade monitoring must top the list of priorities.