France detects “highly pathogenic” avian influenza epidemic – establishment of a surveillance zone | World | News
It is the first major outbreak of the disease since a severe spread of infections last winter. The deadly avian influenza pathogen has now been found on a French farm, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. The virus is currently being studied by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety.
All birds on the affected farm in the northwestern town of Warhem will be killed and a surveillance perimeter will be erected.
Within the surveillance zone, any movement of poultry will be prohibited.
The prohibited zone covers parts of the Belgian province of West Flanders.
The Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain adopted its own additional measures today.
The Belgian towns of De Panne, Furnes, Alveringem and Poperinge will have implemented a ban on the movement of poultry.
Poultry keepers and private owners have been told to keep birds in cages.
Poultry fairs and markets have also been canceled.
The French ministry said consuming poultry and eggs posed no risk to humans.
The news comes after the bird flu virus was also discovered in swans in Hickling, Nottinghamshire.
Nottinghamshire County Council has warned residents not to touch dead or sick birds near the border with Leicestershire.
In the region, a temporary control zone has now been set up.
This was put in place to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.
Speaking to the BBC, County Council Communities Committee chairman Councilor John Cottee said: “It is important that people do not touch any sick or dead birds.
“I also urge people not to feed any swans.
“They should especially avoid feeding the swans in the Hickling area.
“Food encourages them to come together and this increases the risk of the disease spreading.”