France strengthens protective measures against avian influenza

Measures have been strengthened in the Pays de la Loire
calendar icon 11 March 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

While two departments in the Pays de la Loire region are currently experiencing rapid spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus, new protection measures are being deployed now, according to a press release from France's ministry of agriculture. The aim of the move is to slow the spread of the virus and production as quickly as possible for farmers.

Ton date, 74 farms have confirmed the presence of avian influenza in the Pays de la Loire region, mainly in Vendée, with a significant number of new cases under investigation. The acceleration of the epidemic has been observed in recent days: 58 confirmed outbreaks in Vendée on 4 March, compared to nine on 24 February, and 11 outbreaks in breeding since 28 February in Loire-Atlantique.

The outbreaks recorded to date are for the vast majority in an area that is both sensitive and strategic because it is home to many breeding animal farms and many hatcheries from all poultry sectors. Nearly 500,000 animals have already been slaughtered in this area.

Beyond the animal health measures traditionally put in place, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has decided to strengthen protection and control measures:

  • Increased animal disposal capacities with five teams already mobilised and one additional team on the ground next week to ensure depopulation
  • Suspension of shipments of chicks and hatching eggs produced in all hatcheries in the regulated area
  • Depopulation of poultry farms around strategic sites within a perimeter of 5 km
  • Extension of the surveillance zone with a ban on movement and re-establishment of poultry, unless derogations

In addition to these measures, the Ministry called for increased vigilance on biosecurity of all actors, professional or private, to prevent the transmission of the virus between farms, in particular via equipment and means of transport.

As of 4 March, France had confirmed 443 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in livestock, 35 cases in wildlife and 17 cases in low-range.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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