[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 112 (Friday, June 12, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28008-28009]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-13840]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0121]


Notice of Availability of an Evaluation of the Highly Pathogenic 
Avian Influenza Subtype H5N1 Status of Saxony, Germany

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared an evaluation of the animal health 
status of Saxony, Germany, relative to the H5N1 subtype of highly 
pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The evaluation presents our 
assessment of the HPAI H5N1 detection, control, and eradication 
measures in place in Saxony, Germany, during an outbreak of HPAI in 
2008, as well as our assessment of the present status of Saxony, 
Germany, with respect to HPAI subtype H5N1. We are making this 
evaluation available to the public for review and comment. If, after 
the close of the comment period, APHIS can identify no additional risk 
factors that would indicate that domestic poultry in Saxony, Germany, 
continue to be affected with HPAI H5N1, we would conclude that the 
importation of live birds, poultry carcasses, parts of carcasses, and 
eggs (other than hatching eggs) of poultry, game birds, or other birds 
from the affected region of Saxony, Germany, presents a low risk of 
introducing HPAI H5N1 into the United States.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before July 
13, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0121 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0121, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2008-0121.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the 
evaluation in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 
1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to 
help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Julia Punderson, Regionalization 
Evaluation Services Staff, National Center for Import and Export, VS, 
APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-
4356.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has the authority to 
prohibit or restrict the importation into the United States of animals, 
animal products, and other articles in order to prevent the 
introduction of diseases and pests into the U.S. livestock and poultry 
populations.
    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is a zoonotic disease of 
poultry. The H5N1 subtype of HPAI is an extremely infectious and fatal 
form of the disease. HPAI can strike poultry quickly without any 
warning signs of infection and, once established, can spread rapidly 
from flock to flock. HPAI viruses can also be spread by manure, 
equipment, vehicles, egg flats, crates, and people whose clothing or 
shoes

[[Page 28009]]

have come in contact with the virus. HPAI viruses can remain viable at 
moderate temperatures for long periods in the environment and can 
survive indefinitely in frozen material. The H5N1 subtype of HPAI has 
been of particular concern because it has crossed the species barrier 
and caused disease in humans.
    On October 9, 2008, the German Federal Ministry of Consumer 
Protection, Food and Agriculture (BMVEL) reported an outbreak of HPAI 
H5N1 in a single mixed-species flock in Marfersdorf, located in the 
district of G[ouml]rlitz in the Federal State of Saxony following the 
identification of HPAI H5N1 in a wild bird on a nearby lake.
    The restrictions put in place by the European Commission on October 
9, 2008, in response to that limited outbreak were lifted on November 
13, 2008, following extensive surveillance and epidemiologic 
investigations. In a document titled, ``APHIS' Evaluation of the Status 
of High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza H5N1 (HPAI H5N1) in Saxony, 
Germany'' (February 2009), we present the results of our evaluation of 
the status of HPAI H5N1 in domestic poultry in Saxony, Germany, in 
light of the actions taken by German authorities since the 2008 
outbreak, and document our analysis of the risk associated with 
allowing the importation of birds, poultry, and poultry products from 
the region of Saxony, Germany, into the United States in the aftermath 
of the 2008 outbreak.
    Based on the evaluation, we have determined that the BMVEL was able 
to effectively control and eradicate HPAI H5N1 in their domestic 
poultry populations and that the German authorities have adequate 
control measures in place to rapidly identify, control, and eradicate 
the disease should it be reintroduced into the country in either wild 
birds or domestic poultry.
    We are making the evaluation available for public review and 
comment. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before the 
date listed under the heading DATES at the beginning of this notice. 
The evaluation may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our 
reading room (see ADDRESSES above for a link to Regulations.gov and 
information on the location and hours of the reading room). You may 
request paper copies of the evaluation by calling or writing to the 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to 
the title of the evaluation when requesting copies.
    If, after the close of the comment period, APHIS can identify no 
additional risk factors that would indicate that domestic poultry in 
Saxony, Germany, continues to be affected with HPAI H5N1, we would 
conclude that the importation of live birds, poultry carcasses, parts 
of carcasses, and eggs (other than hatching eggs) of poultry, game 
birds, or other birds from Saxony, Germany, presents a low risk of 
introducing HPAI H5N1 into the United States.

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 
21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 8th day of June 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-13840 Filed 6-11-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P