The number of cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in livestock and in wildlife has risen sharply in recent weeks in mainland France.
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In view of the unfavorable evolution of the situation, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc Fesneau, decided to raise the level of risk throughout the national territory.
From Sunday October 2, the risk will go from low to “moderate” and will be accompanied by a reinforcement of the surveillance of poultry farms and protective measures.
Since the beginning of the summer, several hundred dead birds from the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus have been recorded, mainly on the west coast of France.
Reinforced protection and surveillance measures have therefore been put in place by the prefects to try to protect the farms. Spared until the end of July, poultry farms are however now affected with, as of September 29, 18 outbreaks in farms confirmed in 11 departments, a sign of the persistence of the virus in the environment.
The drop in temperatures and the beginning of migrations raise fears of a further increase in the risk of contamination of farms.
In order to improve the protection of farms, and as planned with all the stakeholders within the framework of the avian influenza action plan presented at the end of July, the prevention measures are reinforced.
They are reflected in particular by:
Sheltering of poultry in risk areas
Shelter becomes mandatory for poultry in areas at particular risk (wetlands, crossed by migration corridors for wild birds) and for waterfowl less than 42 days in areas at risk of dissemination (areas with a high density of poultry).
The implementation of self-checks by professionals
This voluntary system aims to strengthen the early detection of the virus in farms of palmipeds in the fat and flesh sectors located in areas at particular risk (ZRP) or areas at risk of dissemination (ZRD), and thus prevent its spread.
Reinforced management measures around breeding outbreaks
In addition to the protection zone (ZP of 3 km) and the surveillance zone (ZS of 10 km), an additional regulated zone (ZRS) has been set up, between 10 and 20 km around the hearths. In these areas, sheltering is mandatory, as are self-checks on farms. Biosecurity audits are also made mandatory before any placement of animals.
"Increased requirements when a case is confirmed in wildlife
A temporary control zone (ZCT) must be applied with an extended radius of at least 20 km. In this area, sheltering is mandatory and self-checks are introduced in farms.
"The implementation of measures to regulate hunting activities
The implementation of measures to regulate hunting activities around outbreaks of influenza in livestock, cases in wildlife, as well as in areas at particular risk.
The departmental services will be required to carry out checks on compliance with the applicable measures due to the increased level of risk.
A reduction in compensation in the event of non-compliance by breeders with the rules in force will also be implemented. ■