[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 113 (Monday, June 15, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28217-28218]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-14004]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0005]


Notice of Availability of an Evaluation of the Highly Pathogenic 
Avian Influenza Subtype H5N1 Status of Hungary

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared an evaluation of the animal health 
status of two counties (B[aacute]cs-Kiskun and Csongr[aacute]d) in 
Hungary 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 those two 
counties in Hungary during outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 in 2006 and 2007. If, 
after the close of the comment period, APHIS can identify no additional 
risk factors that would indicate that domestic poultry in these two 
counties 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 B[aacute]cs-Kiskun and Csongr[aacute]d Counties in Hungary 
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 
15, 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=DocketDetial&d=APHIS-2009-0005 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-2009-0005, 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-2009-0005.
    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 house 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: Mr. Javier Vargas, Case Manager, 
Regionalization Evaluation Services Staff, National Center for Import 
and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1231; (301) 734-0756.

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 highly infectious 
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 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.
    From June 9 to July 12, 2006, Hungary's Department for Food Chain 
Safety and Animal Health (DFCSAH) reported to the World Organization 
for Animal Health (OIE) seven outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 in domestic 
waterfowl in B[aacute]cs-Kiskun County.
    On January 21 and January 26, 2007, the DFCSAH detected two 
outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 in commercial flocks of geese in Csongr[aacute]d 
County.
    To prevent the introduction of HPAI H5N1 into the United States, 
APHIS designated Hungary's counties of B[aacute]cs-Kiskun and 
Csongr[aacute]d as regions where HPAI was considered to exist and 
prohibited the importation of birds, poultry, and poultry products from 
these regions into the United States.
    In a document titled ``APHIS' Evaluation of the Status of High 
Pathogenicity Avian Influenza H5N1 Virus in Hungary'' (November 2008), 
we present the results of our evaluation of the status of HPAI H5N1 in 
domestic poultry in Hungary in light of the actions taken by Hungarian 
authorities since the outbreaks, and document our analysis of the risk 
associated with allowing the importation of birds, poultry, and poultry 
products from B[aacute]cs-Kiskun and Csongr[aacute]d Counties, Hungary, 
into the United States in the aftermath of the outbreaks.
    We based our evaluation of the HPAI H5N1 status of the two counties 
in Hungary on the following critical factors:
     Hungary had been free of outbreaks of the H5N1 subtype in 
its domestic poultry for at least 3 months as a result of effective 
control measures taken by a competent veterinary infrastructure;
     HPAI H5N1 was a notifiable disease in B[aacute]cs-Kiskun 
and Csongr[aacute]d Counties at the time of the outbreaks;
     Hungary had an ongoing disease awareness program in place 
at the time of the outbreaks;

[[Page 28218]]

     Hungary investigated notified or suspected occurrences of 
the disease;
     Hungary had an effective surveillance program in place 
that supported the detection and investigation of outbreaks;
     Diagnostic and laboratory capabilities within B[aacute]cs-
Kiskun and Csongr[aacute]d Counties were both adequate and effective;
     Hungary undertook appropriate eradication and control 
measures and movement restrictions in response to the outbreaks to 
prevent further spread of disease; and
     Procedures used for repopulation of affected premises in 
B[aacute]cs-Kiskun and Csongr[aacute]d Counties included monitoring to 
demonstrate that HPAI H5N1 had been eradicated from the premises.
    Based on these factors, which are consistent with the OIE's 
recommendations for reinstatement of trade with a country that has 
experienced an HPAI H5N1 outbreak,\1\ our evaluation concludes that 
DFCSAH was able to effectively control and eradicate HPAI H5N1 in the 
domestic poultry population and that the Hungarian authorities have 
adequate control measures in place to rapidly identify, control, and 
eradicate the disease should it be reintroduced into Hungary in either 
wild birds or domestic poultry.
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    \1\ OIE (2008). Risk Analysis. In Terrestrial Animal Health 
Code, 17th edition. Paris, World Organization for Animal Health: 
Chapter 2.2 on Import Risk Analysis; Chapter 10.4 on Avian 
Influenza. To view the document on the Internet, go to http://www.oie.int/emg/normes/mcode/A-summry.htm?e1d11.
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    We are making the evaluation available for public 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.
    If, after the close of the comment period, APHIS can identify no 
additional risk factors that would indicate that domestic poultry in 
B[aacute]cs-Kiskun and Csongr[aacute]d Counties in Hungary 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 Hungary 
presents a low risk of introducing HPAI H5N1 into the United States.
    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.

    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 9th day of June 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-14004 Filed 6-12-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P