With the detection of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a turkey farm in the Brittany region of France, the French government has raised its avian flu risk level from 'negligible' to 'moderate' across its entire mainland territory. The decision, published as an official decree in the Journal Officiel on Tuesday morning, comes in response to an increase in HPAI cases in wildlife and the first such outbreak in a domestic farm.
Proactive Measures to Mitigate Risks
The Ministry of Agriculture, in a statement, emphasized that this elevation of risk level aims to bolster prevention and biosecurity measures within the country's livestock industries and among hunters. The decree mandates these sectors to implement heightened precautions against potential threats that have triggered this risk reassessment. Poultry flocks in areas that are particularly exposed to contact with wild birds are now required to be confined indoors.
Implications for the Agricultural Sector
The shift to a 'moderate' risk level translates into the sheltering of all poultry in special risk zones and the initiation of various restrictions and biosecurity measures. These reinforced measures complement the compulsory vaccination campaign against avian flu that France launched in early October for farms with more than 250 ducks. This proactive approach indicates the government's commitment to safeguarding public health and the agricultural sector by mitigating risks through regulatory measures.
Avian Influenza's Impact and Spread
Avian influenza has led to the culling of hundreds of millions of birds in the past years, and the euthanasia of tens of millions of poultry in France alone. The recent escalation of the avian flu risk level follows the spread of the virus in migratory wildlife in neighboring countries. The government order qualifying the level of HPAI risk is taken in the wake of identifying infection dynamics in migratory wild birds in these countries.