In accordance with the applicable requirements of the World organisation for Animal health (OIE), Hungary regained its free of avian influenza classification on 24 August 2017.

Thanks to the recognition of the favourable status with regard to the whole country, a host of third country market can now once again being to reopen for shipments of Hungarian live poultry and poultry products. In the interests of preventing the renewed appearance of the disease, certain measures will remain in place.

According to both EU and Hungarian regulations, the animal health authority declared the last quarantined area disease-free on 24 may 2017, from which point exports to other European Union member states have recommenced unimpeded. According to OIC regulations, the complete territory of Hungary has now been declared free of the avian influenza virus from 24 August 2017. Chief Veterinarian Dr. Lajos Bognár informed the relative authorities of every single partner country with regard to the favourable classification in a letter, in the interests of having the previously introduced import restrictions withdrawn. Up to date information on the decisions made by individual third countries can be found on the National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO) website.

In addition to the updated international classification, it is also important to stress that Decree 3/2017 issued by the Chief Veterinarian on the detailed conditions for the introduction and reintroduction of animal stocks remains in effect and will be monitored by the authorities. Poultry must continue to be fed and watered in a closed space, in addition to which feed must also be stored indoors. The aim of the measures is to reduce the possibility for contamination by wild birds.

Between 3 November 2016 and 21 April 2017, the NFCSO laboratory revealed the presence in the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of the avian influenza virus in a total of 240 flocks of poultry, 200 wild birds and 10 birds kept in captivity. The disease affected poultry flocks in Bács-Kiskun, Békés, Csongrád, Győr-Moson-Sopron, Hajdú-Bihar, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Somogy and Veszprém counties. Every farmer affected by the animal health measures who adhered to the applicable regulations has received compensation.

In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture has developed a de minimis aid construction for duck and goose farmers who were particularly affected by the outbreak. Furthermore, a plan for a funding system to assist affected processing companies is also in development in accordance with Government Decree 1520/2017 (VII. 14).

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)