Bird flu confirmed at French turkey farm

23rd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 24, 2006 (AFP) - The broad H5 group of bird flu has been detected on a farm in France, hitting turkeys in the east of the country, the French agriculture minister said Friday.

PARIS, Feb 24, 2006 (AFP) - The broad H5 group of bird flu has been detected on a farm in France, hitting turkeys in the east of the country, the French agriculture minister said Friday.

Dominique Bussereau told France 2 television that the "highly pathogenic H5 virus" had been confirmed at a farm containing 11,000 turkeys in the Ain department.

But he said it was too early to say whether the birds carried the H5N1 strain of the virus which can be deadly to humans.

The "complete" results of tests carried out at a laboratory in western France had not yet been received, he said.

If the presence of the H5N1 strain is confirmed, it would be the first outbreak of the lethal form of the disease on a farm in the European Union.

"As part of the stepped-up monitoring procedures for farms in the three kilometre (two mile) protection zone around Joyeux, a high mortality rate was detected (at the farm) during this morning," a statement issued Thursday said.

All the birds were to be slaughtered Thursday afternoon, it said.

Earlier Thursday the ministry confirmed that a second wild duck found dead in the Ain department north of Lyon was carrying the virus, which can be fatal to humans.

The agriculture ministry said in a statement that the second duck was found in the village of Bouvent on Sunday, the day after the discovery of the first wild duck carrying the highly pathogenic virus.

France braced for further cases of bird flu with test results due on around 15 wild birds.

"There is a strong chance that we will find very shortly in France, as in Germany, many more cases of wild birds infected by the H5N1 virus," the health ministry said.

Two wild ducks found dead in a the estuary of the river Somme, in northern France, tested negative for the virus, local authorities said on Monday.

Samples taken from around 15 birds were still undergoing tests at a specialist laboratory in Ploufragan, in northwestern Brittany.

France was the sixth country in the European Union to confirm a case of the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 which can kill humans.

Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said at the weekend that France was taking all necessary steps to prevent the virus from spreading, while stressing that no poultry or humans had been affected.

Europe's largest poultry producer and exporter, France has been preparing for a battle to protect its six-billion-euro poultry industry, as the H5N1 strain of bird flu spreads westwards into Europe.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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