-  Saturday 15 August 2020

    France on high alert over 'bird flu at turkey farm'

    A TURKEY farm believed to be infected by the bird flu virus was sealed off by French authorities yesterday. Officials were testing dead poultry and slaughtering the rest, the agriculture ministry said. If H5N1 bird flu is confirmed, it would be the first time the disease has spread to poultry stocks in France, the European Union's largest producer.

    The farm, with more than 11,000 turkeys, is in the same region of south-east France, the Ain, where the country's first two cases of H5N1 - in two wild ducks - were detected. The region is dotted with ponds that attract migrant birds and is home to Bresse chickens, famed for their succulent flesh. A vet who suspected bird flu at the turkey farm raised the alarm yesterday morning after a "high" death rate was observed, the ministry said in a statement. A local government official at Bourg-en-Bresse said that up to 90 per cent of the turkeys had died. Samples from the dead birds were sent for laboratory tests. Results were expected today. The farm's residents were forbidden to leave unless necessary. A system to disinfect vehicles was being set up and protective equipment given to the farmer and officials working in the zone, the ministry said. Last week, the French government ordered all domestic birds indoors or, in a few regions, vaccinated in a bid to halt bird flu.


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