Germany declared officially free of bird flu
( dpa ) - Germany is officially free of bird flu, with no cases of deadly H5N1 avian influenza discovered in wild birds or domestic poultry for the past three months, Agriculture Ministry officials said Tuesday in Berlin.
The last outbreak was in poultry in rural areas west of Berlin in December. Germany had its first brush with bird flu in February 2006. A precautionary ban on keeping hens, ducks, geese and turkeys in the open remains in place.
The three-month rule is applied by the World Organization for Animal Health OIE.
Gerd Mueller, state secretary at the Agriculture Ministry, who has just returned from a trip to the United Arab Emirates, said the Gulf nation had told him it would accept imports of German poultry meat and beef.
The ministry said Germany, which has lost beef exports because of cases of mad cow disease in cattle, was likely to be upgraded to the status of a country with a "controlled" exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
Germany has only had one confirmed new BSE case this year.