Iraq, the world’s fifth biggest buyer of chicken meat, extended a ban on imports of frozen and live poultry products to two dozen countries.
“The import of poultry and birds of all kinds … as well as both types of eggs (table and hatching), feathers and all products that use poultry or their products … is prohibited,” a government statement said.
It all started last month when Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, restricted poultry imports from France, where an outbreak of avian flu has been reported.
The other affected exporters are Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Bhutan, China, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Laos, Libya, Myanmar, Mexico, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Palestine, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.
Last year, Iraq reported its first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus in 10 years.
The H5N1 bird flu virus first infected humans in 1997 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong. Since its re-emergence in 2003 and 2004, H5N1 has spread from Asia to Europe and Africa, causing millions of poultry infections, several hundred human cases and many human deaths.