It is the first in France. A case of avian influenza was detected in Haute-Corse, causing the activation of protective measures throughout the metropolitan territory to limit the spread of this virus, harmless to humans but potentially devastating for the economy of the sector. The case in question was identified in the animal department of a garden center located near Bastia, “following the observation of abnormal mortalities among the poultry detained”, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.
“We learned about it at the start of the afternoon,” Minister of Agriculture and Food Julien Denormandie said on Monday evening during a televised interview for Public Senate-LCP-Le Figaro.
The entire metropolis placed at a high risk level
This detection gave rise to “the euthanasia of a farm of around 200 to 300 hens” on site, said Julien Denormandie. In addition, the minister “brought together all the departments of the ministry and the national reference laboratory and decided to place the whole of the metropolitan national territory at a high level of risk as of November 17, 2020,” the statement said.
The transition to a “high” risk – which had already been decided at the beginning of November for 46 departments – notably triggers the introduction of reinforced protection measures, including the obligation of confinement or the installation of nets to prevent any contact with wild birds. for all commercial poultry farms and backyards. The gatherings of live poultry are also prohibited, in particular in markets, as are the releases of game birds by hunters.
“Watch your poultry”
The minister did not rule out that other cases could be detected in France, this virus spreading through migratory birds. “Our goal is to limit this spread, it is preventable as soon as all of these measures are taken,” he said.
“Watch your poultry,” Julien Denormandie said to breeders, adding that the French services have been preparing in recent months for the detection on national soil of a case of avian flu.
The disease has already appeared in other countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Ireland or Great Britain. In recent days, cases have also been detected in Denmark, where 25,000 poultry have been slaughtered, as well as in Belgium.
“The consumption of meat, foie gras and eggs – and more generally of any food product – does not present any risk for humans”, assures the ministry. The return of this virus to the national territory would essentially have major economic consequences for the sector, which could see export outlets closed.
Duck farmers in the South-West have been struck twice, in the winters of 2015/16 and 2016/17, by epizootics of bird flu, which had caused mass culling to eradicate the disease and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. euros to producers.