France raises bird flu risk level to ‘high’
France raised to “high” the risk level across the country after the detection of several cases of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu strain in farms even as South Korea expanded a cull of chickens and ducks to contain a bird flu outbreak.world Updated: Dec 06, 2016 15:14 IST
France raised to “high” the risk level across the country after the detection of several cases of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu strain in farms even as South Korea expanded a cull of chickens and ducks to contain a bird flu outbreak.
The highly pathogenic avian flu strain was detected in farms in southwestern France and in wild ducks in the country’s north, the farm ministry said on Tuesday.
The decision was also motivated by the “rapid change in the...situation in France and in several European countries”, the ministry said in a statement.
France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, is still recovering from a severe bird flu epidemic in southwestern France earlier this year, which led to a total halting of duck and geese output in the region and import restrictions from trading partners.
In South Korea, the H5N6 virus was first confirmed on November 18 at a farm in the country’s central region. It has since spread to farms around the country, with the total number of cases standing at 28.
The agriculture ministry said in a statement it has culled more than 4.4 million birds and would slaughter another 2.7 million.
Health authorities agreed to issue a so-called “standstill” order to restrict workers at poultry farms from moving around South Korea if the virus continues to spread, the ministry said in a statement.
There have been no cases of human infections from H5N6 in South Korea, although the virus killed six people in China between 2014 and April 2016, according to the South’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The World Health Organization warned earlier this year that the strain “has caused severe infection in humans” but added “until now human infections with the virus seem to be sporadic with no ongoing human to human transmission”.