Bird flu risk â€œnegligibleâ€: France
France has classified the risk of its domestic poultry
flock catching bird flu from migratory wildfowl as negligible, according to the
country's Environment Ministry.
As the northern hemisphere's autumn migration of birds towards warmer
wintering grounds comes to a close, officials said there was no need to change
alert rating from the current level of â€œnegligible 2â€, the second lowest
"By now in early November, we can consider the bulk of the migration that's
come from northern and eastern Europe, is practically finished," Patrice
Blanchet, senior official at the Environment Ministry, told a news conference.
France's alert system, developed by its national food safety agency AFSSA,
evaluates the risk to domestic poultry from infection by the deadly H5N1 bird
flu virus from migrating birds, but not the risk of potential infection from
either legal or illegal commercial trade.
Under the system, if alert level four was reached, poultry in certain
high-risk areas could be confined. A level four alert could be deemed necessary
if H5N1 was detected in migrating birds.
France detected its first case of H5N1 in a wild duck in February this year
and within days the virus had spread to a turkey farm.
Although more cases in wild birds were discovered, there were no further
farm outbreaks and the order to keep poultry locked up was lifted in May.
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