|Original H5N8 Alert Map|
On November 18th, in response to the detection of H5N8 in neighboring Switzerland, the French MOA Issued A Precautionary H5N8 Alert (see map above) where the entire country was on `moderate alert' and specific wetlands were on `high' alert.
Since then, the number of outbreaks across Europe has more than doubled, and last Friday the MOA announced the first of 7 poultry farm infections within France (see France: Additional H5N8 Outbreaks In Poultry & Wild Birds).
This morning the MOA has issued the following (translated) communique raising the entire country's alert level to `high'.
avian influenza safety animal protection
Following the discovery of several outbreaks of avian influenza highly pathogenic H5N8 in southwestern farms and cases in wild animals in the Pas-de-Calais and Haute-Savoie, the Ministry of Agriculture, Agri-Food and Forestry decided to raise the level of risk vis-à-vis the disease at "high" on the entire national territory. This choice was also motivated by the rapid evolution of the health situation in France and in several European countries and by the dynamics of virus spread.
To recall, on the basis of an opinion from ANSES, November 17, the risk level had been raised from "substantial" to "moderate" the entire national territory. In wet areas considered areas at particular risk and are stops on the route of migratory birds, the risk vis-à-vis the avian influenza had been raised to the level "high". Some outbreaks discovered in recent days are outside of these areas. Consequently, today, by ministerial order, the level of risk is now described as "high" on the entire territory.
The "high" risk entails the establishment of safeguards implementation strengthened across the country, namely:
- obligation or containment nets pose to prevent contact with wild birds for all commercial poultry farms (unless otherwise specified by order) and all backyard (no exceptions)
- banning any gathering of live poultry, and especially live poultry markets. The gatherings can take place under derogation, if such arrangements are implemented to avoid any risk of contamination by wild birds of water (bird wildlife likely to be infected by avian influenza) and between poultry from different farms,
- prohibiting releases of game birds throughout the national territory. Releases of pheasants and partridges are, themselves, authorized under certain conditions, as is the use of the appellants.
Finally, the Ministry recalled that in parallel with these provisions, strict biosecurity measures must be respected in all poultry farms and all persons likely to go into poultry farms nationwide. The management of this new episode of avian influenza depends on the involvement and commitment of all stakeholders.The MOA also released a companion statement - H5N8: What does "raising the risk level in the territory" - elaborating further on the steps and prohibitions being called for.
For more information, consult the set of measures and derogations in Managing the new H5N8 case