It’s an old nightmare that wakes up regularly among breeders. While France is trying to fight against the fifth wave of the coronavirus epidemic, an outbreak of avian flu has been detected in a poultry farm in the Nord department. This is the first since the epizootic last winter, which had already taken its toll, the Ministry of Agriculture announced on Saturday.
“While avian influenza viruses are actively circulating in Europe through migratory birds, France detected on November 26 an outbreak due to a highly pathogenic strain in a laying hen farm located in the town of Warhem, in the Nord department, ”he said in a statement. The suspicion of infection follows a finding of abnormal mortalities among poultry on the farm. The virus in question is said to be a variant of the H5 type of traditional avian influenza, making it more pathogenic.
No risk for humans
France had already declared since the end of the summer four cases of avian influenza in wildlife and three cases in backyards on the metropolitan territory. In Europe, 26 countries are currently affected by influenza viruses, affecting more than 400 outbreaks in breeding and 600 cases in wildlife, specifies the ministry. Sanitary measures have been taken. The hens will be slaughtered and the home will be disinfected. The consumption of meat, foie gras and eggs, and more generally of any food product made from poultry, presents no risk to humans, the ministry emphasizes.
While this farm is located near the border, the Belgian authorities immediately reacted, according to RTBF. The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (Afsca) has announced that it will set up a 3 km protection zone and a 10 km surveillance zone around livestock, as in France. Thus, in the Flemish municipalities of De Panne, Furnes, Alveringem and Poperinge, all poultry must be confined or protected by nets, and their gatherings (such as at markets or fairs) are strictly prohibited.