France finds bird flu on farm in set­back for ex­ports

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

PARIS:

France re­ported a se­vere case of bird flu yes­ter­day on a duck farm in the south­west, an­other set­back for French poul­try and foie gras ex­ports which were hit by a sim­i­lar out­break a year ago. The H5N8 avian in­fluenza virus was con­firmed at a farm in the Tarn re­gion, the agri­cul­ture min­istry said, days af­ter the virus was de­tected among wild birds in north­ern France and fol­low­ing out­breaks in Europe linked to mi­grat­ing birds.

The H5N8 virus has never been de­tected in hu­mans, un­like some other strains, but it led to the culling of mil­lions of farm birds in Asia in 2014 be­fore spread­ing to Europe. The new case means France, the Euro­pean Union’s big­gest poul­try breeder, will not be able to re­gain for now its in­ter­na­tional sta­tus as be­ing free of the highly path­o­genic flu.

It had aimed to re­cover that sta­tus on Dec. 3 had no fur­ther cases been found, the min­istry said in a state­ment. Now it won’t be cleared for at least an­other 90 days, de­lay­ing a re­turn to nor­mal trade with coun­tries such as Ja­pan that im­posed blan­ket bans on French poul­try prod­ucts dur­ing the pre­vi­ous wave of out­breaks. “The im­me­di­ate con­se­quence is re­gard­ing the bird flu-free sta­tus,” Marie-Pierre Pe, spokes­woman for foie gras mak­ers’ group CIFOG, said. “This out­break puts back by four months the pos­si­ble re­open­ing of trade bar­ri­ers.”

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