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Officials block Indian egg consignment over bird flu fear

KINSHASA, 4 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo blocked the release of a consignment of eggs from India at the port of Matadi because of suspicion that they could be contaminated with the Avian Influenza A virus (H5N1), or the bird flu.

The veterinary doctor heading the Congolese surveillance commission against the virus in Bas-Congo Province, Disekedi Mabiala, said on Thursday the 13,420 eggs were being withheld because the importer failed to provide proper documentation showing that Indian veterinary authorities had certified the eggs as virus free.

"We have decided to reject the merchandise and have ordered the importer, a company called Alleluia, to send it back to India," he said.

No case of avian flu has been detected yet in the DRC and the authorities are taking measures to put disease surveillance teams in each of the country's 11 provinces.

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