France reports case of bird flu in Dordogne

A case of bird flu has been detected in France for the fist time since 2006 after a outbreak was reported in the Dordogne area. An emergency response plan has been launched.

France reports case of bird flu in Dordogne
France has its first case of bird flu since 2006. File photo: AFP

France's agriculture ministry revealed on Wednesday that an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu had been found in the southwest part of the country.

“A case of avian influenza has been confirmed in a yard in Dordogne,” the ministry said in a statement.

The virus, which is highly pathogenic – meaning it can cause disease, was identified on Tuesday by the France's National Agency of Sanitary Security (Anses).

The bird flu outbreak, found among chickens, was the first one in France since 2006.

The health ministry said that only those who hadclose and prolonged contact with the sick animals were at risk of contamination.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll immediately asked his services to activate a national intervention emergency plan following European and international rules, the agricultural ministry said.

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Japan bans French foie gras over bird flu fears

Japan has banned imports of foie gras from France following a bird flu outbreak in the Dordogne region of the country. Japan is the biggest importer of the controversial delicacy.

Japan bans French foie gras over bird flu fears
French foie gras has been banned in Japan. Photo: AFP

The outbreak of bird flu continues to have an impact on the French poultry industry.

On Friday Japan announced that it had banned imports of foie gras.

The country is the biggest importer of the delicacy and the move comes in the run up to Christmas, a period when sales are normally at their highest.

The ban will be lifted 90 days after all affected French poultry farms finish culling their birds and conclude necessary sanitary procedures, an from the agriculture ministry told AFP.

It is believed the ban applies to foie gras made and exported after October 23, which is 21 days before the first case was reported and the length of time the bacteriatakes to incubate.

Foie gras and other poultry products dating from before October 23rd can still be imported.

It comes after a string of countries in Asia and north Africa have banned imports of French poultry following a bird flu outbreak, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday in Paris.

Algeria, China, Egypt, Japan, Morocco, South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia have stopped imports following the outbreak last month in the southwestern area of Dordogne, said Loic Evain, deputy head of the ministry's food division.

“The list is not exhaustive,” Evain said, but does not include France's 27 European Union partners, who have accepted containment measures proposed by Paris under World Health Organisation guidelines.

“Unfortunately some countries' first reaction is to close their borders and only then to discuss” strategy, Evain said.

He added that “for the time being there is no decision” to block French poultry by Gulf region states which are major consumers.

South Korea imposed its ban last Thursday on imports of French poultry and live birds after the European Commission confirmed birds at a French chicken farm were infected with the H5N1 strain.

The commission ordered all 32 birds at the farm to be culled and called for close monitoring of neighbouring poultry farms.

Bird flu outbreaks have been reported in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East. South Korea was also hit by a string of outbreaks of the virus this year.