Mexico has suspended imports of all poultry from the US, after a highly infectious strain of bird flu was discovered in a Texas chicken flock.

The Mexican ministry of agriculture said the ban, which is effective immediately, refers to live poultry as well as processed products, reported Reuters.

US officials said the type of bird flu discovered a few days ago in Gonzales County is the H5N2 strain, which is highly pathogenic, meaning it is very contagious and fatal to infected birds. It is the first outbreak in the US of a high pathogenic strain of the disease in 20 years. US officials have said the strain is not believed to be transmissible to humans.

Mexico already had bans on poultry imports from several US states due to outbreaks of poultry viruses. Last week Mexico banned imports of poultry from British Columbia in Canada after a bird flu outbreak was discovered there.

Meanwhile Russia has banned imports of poultry from Texas, and has also halted certain poultry imports from British Columbia, reported Dow Jones News.

Yesterday the EU announced that it has suspended imports of live poultry and eggs from the US until 23 March.

A spokesman for the US Poultry and Egg Export Council said the ban was “irresponsible and unjustified”, reported Agence France Presse.

China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea have already temporarily halted imports of US poultry.