France orders poultry indoors as bird flu risk level rises to ‘high’
PARIS, Nov 10 (Reuters) – France has placed the country on “high” bird flu alert, forcing poultry farms to keep birds indoors to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease, the country said on Thursday. the Ministry of Agriculture.
The European Union’s second-largest poultry producer has detected a further rise in bird flu outbreaks in recent months after this year saw its worst wave of the disease, with an estimated 22 million birds culled.
Between August 1 and November 8, 49 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), commonly known as bird flu, were detected in French farms, with a large and increasing number of cases in domestic backyard poultry. and in wild birds, the ministry says.
“In a context marked by the unprecedented persistence of the virus in the environment and the strong migratory activity of wild birds, it is essential to strengthen preventive measures to avoid contamination of poultry farms,” he said in a statement. communicated.
Although the virus is harmless in food, its spread is a concern for governments and the poultry industry due to the devastation it can cause to flocks, the possibility of trade restrictions and a risk of human transmission. .
The “high” risk level, which was previously set at “moderate”, implies that all poultry must be kept indoors and that additional security measures must be taken, including for hunting, in order to prevent the spread of disease.
Europe has had its worst bird flu crisis this year, with almost 50 million poultry culled, and the persistence of the virus over the summer has increased the risk of widespread infections next season, said the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). month.
Bird flu usually strikes during the fall and winter months. It is transmitted through the infected droppings of migratory wild birds or through direct contact with contaminated food, clothing and equipment, or through the air.
Report by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Gus Trompiz and Jan Harvey
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