Tuesday, 29 December 2015

France sees bird flu cases double in less than a week

There has been cases of bird flu in France which has doubled since Friday as reported by the Ministry of Agriculture with a total of 61 on 22 December, 2015 compared with 30 at the end of previous week. In a statement, the Ministry of Agriculture said the 61 cases now covered six regions in south-west France, with the Haute-Pyrenees department the latest to have recorded cases close to the Spanish border.
although the French Minister for Agriculture Stephane Le Foll said that the outbreak was under control, farmers in the Landes region, which has 27 cases, have now lost tens of thousands of birds. However, the sequencing of the H5N1 strain detected in the first outbreak in the Dordogne at the end of November has confirmed the absence of key markers, meaning there is no danger to humans, the ministry confirmed.
According to the latest analysis published by the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA), the risk of bird flu spreading from France to the UK remains low but heightened. APHA Head of Virology, Professor Ian Brown and Dr Helen Roberts, of APHA’s international disease monitoring team said the risk to the UK as a result of the French outbreaks was primarily around pathways which involve lapses in biosecurity or trade routes, rather than through wild birds. The pair said the French outbreaks were wholly of European origin.
The situation in France simply reinforces what we already know that low pathogenic avian influenza viruses [LPAI] circulate in wild birds and cause occasional spillover outbreaks in poultry. These may be difficult to detect in domestic waterfowl species and they may then mutate into [highly pathogenic avian influenza (HAPI)] viruses. The cases in a France may be related but whether the index case for LPAI and HPAI mutation has been found is unclear.
In the run-up to Christmas, the agency reminded poultry keepers to maintain high standards of biosecurity, remain vigilant and report any signs of animals showing sickness.

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