Bird Flu: France Places 46 Departments at “High” Risk

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France places 45 departments on alert for bird flu

EPIDEMIC: This bird flu  virus, transmitted to poultry farms by migratory birds, is not dangerous for humans

The threat of an epidemic of bird flu, harmless to humans, hangs over French agricultureA decree places this Thursday 46 departments at “high” risk, according to a decree published this Thursday in the Official Journal. Protective measures must be taken on farms.

The shift to a “high” risk triggers the introduction of enhanced protection measures, including the obligation of containment or the laying of nets to prevent contact with wild birds for all commercial poultry farms and backyards. In addition, gatherings of live poultry are prohibited, in particular in markets, as are the releases of game birds by hunters.

The virus reached the Netherlands, then the United Kingdom

These restrictive measures are justified by “the need to take urgent and immediate preventive measures to protect French poultry farms from potential contamination by the avian influenza virus by wild birds, especially in areas at particular risk or departments. crossed by migration corridors ”, according to this decree.

This is, according to the presentation of the Ministry of Agriculture, “to take into account the unfavourable health development vis-à-vis avian influenza in birds in Europe”. Since the outbreaks in Russia and Kazakhstan this summer, the epizootic, which poses no danger to humans, has progressed westward, recently reaching the Netherlands. “Since then, an infection dynamic has been set in motion, with 13 cases in wild animals and one outbreak in broiler chickens in the Netherlands and 13 cases in wild birds in Germany. On November 3, the United Kingdom also declares the first outbreak, in the north-west of England, ”said the ministry.

Departments known for their production of foie gras, such as Landes and Gers , in particular, are among these areas. The risk remains qualified as “moderate” in the other departments. Duck farmers in the South-West have been struck twice, during the winters of 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, by epizootics of avian influenza, which had caused mass culling to eradicate the disease and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. euros to producers.

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