French Bird Flu Total Rises Further

FRANCE - The latest reports from the French government indicate that 66 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have now been found in the south west of the country.
calendar icon 6 January 2016
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One of the new outbreaks occurred in the Lot region, which has not previously been affected by the disease.

The outbreak, caused by the H5N1 strain, was declared on 4 Januray 2016 on a farm of 260 guinea fowl, 280 ducks, 650 chickens and 60 broiler hens, in the town of Miers.

No details were provided about the other new outbreak, but the total outbreak number for Landes was raised from 27 to 28, suggesting it occurred there.

Meanwhile, a report from the UK government's Animal and Plant Health Agency concluded that the avian influenza risk level for the UK remains low, but has been heightened by the outbreaks in France.

The report said the virus strains all appear to be European in origin, and not the Asian strains which have been associated with transglobal spread of H5 HPAI since 2003.

"The risk to the UK as a result of these outbreaks is primarily around pathways which involve lapses in biosecurity or trade routes, rather than through wild birds as these are apparently wholly European origin viruses.

"However the situation in France simply reinforces what we already knew, that these LPAI viruses circulate in wild birds and cause occasional spill-over outbreaks in poultry may be difficult to detect in domestic waterfowl species and which may then mutate into HPAI viruses following infection of galliforme hosts," the report said.

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