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Dominican Republic denies flu outbreak

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Dominican Republic denies flu outbreak

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 9, CMC -Officials in the Dominican Republic have denied reports of an outbreak of avian flu adding that the World Health Organisation declared the country free of bird flu three years ago.
In a statement on Friday, the Dominican Ambassador to Haiti, Ruben Silie said Haiti erroneously reported that the neighbouring country had an outbreak of avian flu when it cited the disease as a reason for imposing a ban on the importation of meats, chicken, eggs and other products.
Last week, Haiti’s Ministry of Commerce issued an indefinite ban on some food imports from the Dominican Republic following the death of five people.
On Tuesday, a Dominican Health official Rafael Schiffino  attributed the death of the five, including two pregnant women, to swine flu and not avian flu.
Following news of the deaths health authorities in Haiti started to administer flu vaccines to pregnant women, senior citizens and children.
Records from the Government in the Dominican Republic state that 25 million eggs and 8 million chickens are sold each year to Haiti.
If Haiti keeps banning the chicken market, “we’ll lose 75 million pesos (US$2 million) said Manuel Escano,President of the Dominican Association of egg producers.
A statement from the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) in Haiti said “consumers and users of the Haitian-Dominican border, as well as importers and retailers that import and sale of meat products, particularly poultry, eggs and live animals potentially infected or carriers of bird flu, from the Dominican Republic are prohibited until further order”.