CDC Has Rescinded Embargo of Birds from Specified Countries
Avian Flu Outbreaks
- Current Situation
- Past Outbreaks
- Embargo of Birds
- Quarantine Executive Order
(From the White House)
- Quarantine Executive Order Q & A
CDC has rescinded its embargo on the importation of birds and bird products. For more information, please see Notice of Proposed Rescission. The period for public comments closed on February 20, 2009.
Based on concerns about highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus and its potential to cause illness in humans, CDC continues to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its steps to prevent importation of birds and unprocessed bird products from countries with the virus in domestic poultry. The import restrictions do not apply to U.S.-origin pet birds which will be allowed to return upon entering a USDA quarantine facility for 30 days. The import restrictions also do not apply to processed bird products that have been rendered noninfectious. Countries affected by the USDA import restrictions are outlined in the following table:
Countries Affected by USDA
Current as of June 21, 2011
USDA Import Restrictions
- USDA Import Requirements
- USDA Final Rule: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza; Additional Restrictions
Questions and Answers
What are the current restrictions on importing birds into the United States?
On February 4, 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ordered an immediate embargo on the importation of all birds and bird products 1 from countries known to have highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The February 4, 2004, order was put in place at the same time a similar action was taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) HHS/CDC issued amendments to the February 4, 2004, order based on the documentation of HPAI H5N1 in commercial birds in additional countries.
What countries are included currently in CDC’s embargo?
What action has USDA taken to prevent importation of avian influenza?
USDA’s regulation on bird importation from regions that have reported the presence of HPAI in poultry can be found in 9 CFR parts 93, 94, and 95.
USDA/APHIS has imposed and continues to enforce regulations to prohibit or restrict the importation of birds, poultry, and unprocessed birds and poultry products (such as eggs and feathers) from regions where highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI H5N1) has been confirmed in poultry. Although these restrictions have been imposed to protect the U.S. commercial bird industry from the threat of HPAI, they also protect humans from exposure to the virus. All the countries listed under CDC's embargo are included in USDA's restrictions. 2
Why were CDC’s restrictions put in place?
Birds infected with H5N1 can spread bird flu to humans. The introduction of these birds into the United States is a significant public health threat. The threat can be limited effectively by banning the importation of all birds and bird products from affected countries. Therefore, CDC imposed the ban in 2004 to reduce the likelihood of introduction or spread of HPAI into the United States.
If avian influenza continues to be a threat to U.S. public health, why is CDC lifting its restriction on the import of birds from countries with HPAI?
When HPAI was first recognized as a threat, CDC took emergency action to ban the importation of birds and thus prevent the disease from entering the United States. Since that time, partnerships with public health and agricultural agencies around the world have increased the capacity for surveillance and communication about emerging outbreaks of HPAI. In addition, USDA has placed strict embargoes on birds and bird products coming from countries where HPAI has been confirmed in poultry. Because the USDA/APHIS import restrictions adequately address risks to human health, HHS/CDC is lifting its embargo against imports of birds and unprocessed bird products from those same countries and solicits comments on this proposal. All the bird embargoes that are currently in force under USDA regulations will remain in force.
When the embargo is rescinded, how will CDC continue to protect the public from the risk of HPAI?
CDC will continue to work closely with USDA, the World Health Organization, the World Animal Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and individual Ministries of Health to monitor the situation regarding HPAI in foreign countries to ensure that the threat to human health is being adequately addressed through animal control measures. If necessary, CDC can take measures to control a human health threat based upon its authority to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States. CDC’s regulations on animal importation from regions that have reported the presence of HPAI in poultry can be found in 42 CFR 71.32 - Persons, carriers, and things.
Will CDC play a role in securing the border against the illegal import of restricted birds and bird products?
CDC staff at the 20 U.S. Quarantine Stations will continue to work closely with USDA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to enforce USDA's importation embargo on birds and bird products.
When will CDC finalize its rescission of its import embargo on birds and bird products?
Effective September 14, 2009, HHS/CDC is rescinding its February 4, 2004, order and all amendments from the following dates: March 10, 2004; September 28, 2004; December 29, 2005; February 8, 2006; February 22, 2006; February 27, 2006; March 2, 2006; March 15, 2006; March 20, 2006; March 21, 2006; March 29, 2006; April 10, 2006; April 28, 2006; May 16, 2006; June 2, 2006; and February 28, 2007.
1 Pet birds returning to the U.S. and certain processed bird-derived products are exempt from the embargo.
2 The USDA import restrictions allow U.S.-origin pet birds to return following quarantine at a USDA facility for 30 days. USDA allows import of processed bird products that have been rendered noninfectious. These products must be accompanied by a USDA permit and government certification confirming that the products were treated according to USDA requirements.
Page last modified June 21, 2011