France detects ‘highly pathogenic’ bird flu outbreak – surveillance zone set up

Bird flu virus discovered in eastern Europe in February

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This is the first major outbreak of the disease since a serious spread of infections last winter. The deadly avian flu pathogen has now been found in a French farm, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. The virus is now being studied by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety.

All birds at the affected farm in the northwestern town of Warhem will be killed and a surveillance perimeter erected.

Within the surveillance zone, all movement of poultry will be prohibited.

The prohibited area stretches into parts of the Belgian province of West Flanders.

Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain today adopted its own additional measures.

The Belgian towns of De Panne, Veurne, Alveringem and Poperinge will have a prohibition on poultry movements set in place.

Poultry farmers and private owners have been told they must keep birds caged.

Poultry shows and markets have also been cancelled.

The French ministry said that the consumption of poultry and eggs presented no risks to humans.

The news comes after the Bird Flu virus was also discovered in swans in Hickling, Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire County Council warned residents not to touch dead or sick birds near the border with Leicestershire.

In the area, a temporary control zone has now been introduced.

This has been put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Speaking to the BBC, Chairman of the county council’s Communities Committee Councillor John Cottee said: “It is important that people do not touch any sick or dead birds.

“I would also urge people not to feed any swans.

“They should particularly avoid feeding swans in the Hickling area.

“Feeding encourages them to congregate and that increases the risk of the disease spreading.”

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