Philippines bans poultry, bird imports from Canada

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MANILA, Oct 10 (Reuters) The Philippines has temporarily banned imports of poultry and live birds from Canada after a dangerous strain of bird flu was found on a chicken farm in a Canadian province, the agriculture department said today.

Canadian veterinary officials said last month they found the H7N3 strain on a farm in the Saskatchewan province. The strain is not normally associated with human illness but is seen as a serious risk to animal health.

The Philippine agriculture department issued a memorandum saying the ban was meant to ensure the country remained bird flu free.

Manila has a similar ban on all live bird and poultry imports from Korea and Britain.

The Philippines is one of only three countries in Southeast Asia that has not had avian influenza since the virus resurfaced in Asia in 2003. The two others are Brunei and Singapore.

According to the World Health Organisation, the H5N1 avian flu virus has infected 330 people since 2003, and killed 202 of them.

More than 30 countries have reported outbreaks in the past year, in most cases involving wild birds such as swans.

REUTERS PD KN1728

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