Avian flu: switch to high risk as of NOVEMBER 8, 2022

High risk level as of NOVEMBER 8, 2022

The number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza has continued to increase in recent weeks in France and Europe. Faced with this situation, Marc FESNEAU, Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, took the decision to increase the level of epizootic risk to bird flu from “moderate” to “high” in the metropolitan territory. Preventive measures have been strengthened to protect farms.

Since November 8, 49 outbreaks in livestock have been confirmed in France. Cases in farmyards and in wild animals are also numerous and increasing.

In a context characterized by an unprecedented persistence of the virus in the environment and a strong migratory activity of wild birds, it is essential to strengthen preventive measures to avoid contamination of poultry farms.

The transition to a “high” risk level reinforces the defense arsenal for poultry farms and generalizes preventive measures:

In breeding:

Housing of all birds throughout the metropolitan area

- Prohibition of gathering of birds throughout the metropolitan area

- Obligation to cover trucks transporting waterfowl older than 3 days.

For hunting activities (hunting):

- Authorization for the transport and use of bait only for holders of category 1 (holders with less than 15 baits);

- Movements of game birds subject to conditions (clinical examination, virological examination Anatidae);

- The release of Anatidae feathered game is prohibited.

For zoos: compulsory vaccination in zoos of birds that cannot be housed.

For racing pigeons: ban on races of racing pigeons departing or arriving in France until March 31.

For all actors in the sector, it is about strengthening vigilance and ensuring stricter implementation of biosecurity measures to prevent the virus from entering farms and avoiding its spread between farms. The same recommendations apply to private owners of backyard and ornamental birds.

https://agriculture.gouv.fr/influenza-aviaire-les-mesures-de-biosecurite-pour-les-operateurs-professionnels-et-les-particuliers

The services of the department will be required to carry out checks for compliance with applicable measures due to the increased level of risk. A reduction in compensation will also be applied in case of non-compliance with the rules in force by the breeders.

This increased risk level was decided after consultation with ANSES and the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), which observed active flows of migratory birds and an unusually high number of outbreaks for the period. It was the subject of prior information for interested parties.

In accordance with the action plan of July 29, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty and its services are fully engaged alongside professional actors in the fight against bird flu.

CAUTION: the consumption of meat, foie gras and eggs – and in general any poultry-based food product – does not pose any risk to humans.

Regulatory references:

- Order of 29 September 2021 regarding the biosecurity measures applicable by operators and professionals working with animals in facilities that keep poultry or birds in captivity in the context of the prevention of animal diseases transmissible to animals or humans,

- Order of 16 March 2016 concerning epizootic risk levels due to infection of avifauna by a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus and related monitoring and prevention systems in poultry and other captive birds,

- order of 8 November 2022 qualifying the level of danger with regard to highly pathogenic avian influenza.

For more information:

Website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty: https://agriculture.gouv.fr/influenza-aviaire-la-situation-en-france

Animal Health Epidemiological Surveillance Platform: https://www.platforme-esa.fr/

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