France

Rapid spread of avian influenza

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As in 2021, this year is starting with a large number of avian influenza outbreaks in France. (Archive image)
MAGO / Hans Lucas
As in 2021, this year is starting with a large number of avian influenza outbreaks in France. (Archive image)

In France, the spread of avian influenza has accelerated sharply in recent days. According to the Paris Ministry of Agriculture, 102 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) were known in commercial livestock farms throughout the country yesterday, compared with only 46 at the end of last week. In wild poultry and in private holdings, 21 and five cases, respectively, are currently registered. Thus, only a single new detection has been added in each of these categories in the past few days.

The first outbreaks in commercial poultry farms in France were observed near the Belgian border. Now the focus has shifted to the southwest of the country; this region had already been hit hard during the previous epidemic. Of the currently known cases, 57 are in the Landes department alone. Most affected is the Chalosse countryside in the south of the department, where duck farming for the production of foie gras is of great importance.

According to the regional farmers' association (FDSEA), the virus responsible for the current epidemic is thought to be more contagious than previous strains and also more likely to infect chicken birds. Of the infections known to date, ducks account for about 60% and chicken birds 40%, according to FDSEA; in previous years, ducks have been affected 90% of the time. AgE

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