France tightens measures against avian flu contamination

Paris, Nov 17 (IANS) France on Thursday raised level of caution over a bird flu strain and imposed strict measures to avoid contamination, the country’s Agriculture Ministry said.

“Since recent cases in our European neighbours mainly affect migratory birds, the ministry has raised the level of risk from wetlands that concentrate wildlife and can be stops on the route of migrating birds,” the ministry said in a statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

Poultry farmers in high risk areas have to use confinement and safety nets to prevent poultry fowls’ contacts with wild birds, it added.

The precaution measures include restrictions for hunters, notably of wild feathered game, in high risk zones, according to the statement.

No case of H5N8 avian influenza has been reported in France. However, cases of bird flu have been recorded in countries like Germany, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.

France, the European Union’s main producer of famous foie gras, detected bird flu outbreak last year, forcing the government to ban all duck and goose production in many southwestern departments.