Avian flu: France raises the level of risk

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Following the discovery of birds contaminated with H5N8 in the Netherlands, the Minister of Agriculture calls for "increased vigilance" of French farms.

"On October 20, the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8 was detected in two mute swans in the Netherlands. These cases alert to the risk of introduction in France due to the circulation of the virus in migratory corridors currently used by wild birds ", warns Minister Julien Denormandie in a press release. Thus, preventive measures are now mandatory "in the municipalities located in the so-called areas of special risk (ZRP), that is, hosting wetlands frequented by migratory birds."

Specifically, these measures consist of the "confinement or protection of poultry farms by means of a network with reduction of open-air routes for the animals", "the prohibition of the collection of birds" in competitions or exhibitions, or even "the prohibition of the transport and release of game birds "and" use of callers "by hunters.

New measures

Throughout the territory, the press release also announces the establishment of a "daily clinical surveillance in commercial farms", of a "ban on racing pigeon competitions at the departure or arrival of a cited department". "A mandatory vaccination in zoos for birds that cannot be confined or protected under a net." These measures will be lifted at the end of the migration period, during the month of January.

"To date, France is free of avian influenza. The consumption of meat, fatty liver and eggs does not present any risk to humans. Highly pathogenic avian influenza is an infectious, viral and highly contagious animal disease that affects birds." , reassures the official text. In the past, the H5N1 virus in 2015-2016 and the H5N8 virus in the winter of 2016-2017 had caused the slaughter of millions of ducks in southwestern France to limit the spread of the virus.

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