The number of cases of high pathogenic Avian Influenza in the south-east of France is rising rapidly. The Ministry of Agriculture now reports 61 infected premises in 6 regions or departments, which means that the epidemic is spreading further geographically.
In order to try to contain the outbreak, the Ministry has established a broad restriction or sanitation zone. In an area spreading over a few hundred kilometres, no transport of live birds or hatching eggs is allowed while the sale of poultry and poultry products to other countries but also to other parts of France is restricted. “The new measures are aimed at sanitising poultry production in an effective way across a wide zone, and to provide all the necessary guarantees to EU and non-EU countries that import French poultry birds and meat,” the Ministry said in a statement.
France has now discovered 4 different strains of the virus, H5N1, H5N2, H5N9 and low pathogenic H5N3. A number of the new cases came to light at the compulsory inspection of animals meant for slaughter. Most cases involve farms with ducks and geese for the production of foie gras. Local sources report that the sale of the pâté, which is particularly popular around Christmas, does not seem to be affected yet.