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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

France on high alert over spread of bird flu virus

Authorities say the new reinforced prevention measures will protect poultry farms as cases have been identified in northeast France.

The French government has put the entire country on high alert for bird flu as the virus spreads across Europe.

The move will extend a requirement to keep poultry flocks indoors, a measure already implemented in certain areas since September, the agriculture ministry said in a statement on Friday.

“Since the beginning of August, 130 bird flu cases or clusters have been detected in wild animals or on farms in Europe,” the ministry said, adding that three cases had been identified among backyard birds in northeast France.

“Reinforced prevention measures will therefore be implemented to protect poultry farms.”

France culled about 3 million birds last winter in its southwestern duck-breeding region as it grappled with the spread of the virus from wild birds to poultry flocks.

Outbreak in Europe

The Netherlands reported on Thursday a new outbreak of highly pathogenic H5 bird flu among ducks at a poultry farm in the central province of Flevoland.

The Dutch agriculture ministry said about 10,000 animals will be culled at the farm to limit the spread of the disease.

Last week Dutch authorities also ordered commercial farms to keep all flocks inside after the outbreak was reported on the farm.

An outbreak of avian flu has also been confirmed in the Angus area of Scotland.

The UK government confirmed on Wednesday that a flock of “captive birds” had tested positive for H5N1 and placed the country on “high alert” over the risk of bird flu spread among wild birds.

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