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Importing H5 Avian Influenza Samples

On June 6, the Federal Select Agent Program announced a new H5 Avian Influenza Virus Exemption. The Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has utilized his exemption authority under 9 C.F.R. 121.5(f) in the select agent and toxin regulations to temporarily exempt H5 avian influenza viruses from the requirements of the regulations listed in 9 C.F.R. Part 121 for a period of three years.

For the duration of the H5 Avian Influenza Virus exemption, APHIS, Veterinary Services (VS), Organisms and Vectors (OV) Permitting Unit will issue permits for importation and interstate transportation of all H5 avian influenza viruses pursuant to 9 C.F.R. Part 122. The APHIS, VS, OV Permitting Unit can be contacted by email at:

An import permit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Import Permit Program will be required for all H5 Avian Influenza variants that are known or suspected to cause human disease. If any imported agent is determined to not cause disease in humans (e.g., attenuated strains that are no longer infectious), then an importer certification statement should be included to avoid potential shipping delays. The Import Permit Program can be contacted by email at:

If you have any questions, please contact