AI-related mortality of French coastal birds on the rise

Cases amongst coastal seabirds on the rise across Europe
calendar icon 6 September 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

The national health situation with regard to avian influenza had improved in France since the beginning of May, with the return to a level of risk classified as "negligible", according to a news release from France's ministry of agriculture. However, since mid-May, a sharp increase in cases has been observed in "indigenous" wildlife on the Channel coast.

In livestock farming, seven outbreaks have been confirmed since the end of July: one in the English Channel, one in the Somme, two in Morbihan, two in the Ain and one in Ille-et-Vilaine.

Two outbreaks have also been confirmed in backyards (Ille-et-Vilaine and Somme) and in calling birds (Somme).

Since mid-May, grouped mortalities of coastal birds have been observed first in the coastal departments of Hauts-de-France (Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme) mainly among various breeds of seabirds, including gulls and terns. Then these mortalities appeared in June on the Normandy coasts (Seine-Maritime, Calvados, Manche). Since then, these findings have been regular on the coasts of these departments but also sometimes inland.

The deaths are monitored within the framework of the SAGIR network (National Wildlife Health Monitoring Device), which carries out analyses. The Anses National Reference Laboratory (LNR) has confirmed the presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus on about a hundred events in wildlife on the Channel coast.

The increase in cases of HPAI in wildlife is spreading to other countries of the European Union, cases mainly grouped at the coastal level.

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