France has declared a “high” alert for bird flu, ordering farms to keep their chickens, ducks and other birds indoors, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday. The country saw a new rise in bird flu outbreaks in the last few months. Between August and November this year, 49 bird flu outbreaks were detected on French farms.
Bird flu usually only appears during the autumn and winter months. During the last bird flu wave, France killed over 22 million birds. The animals were gassed, and their bodies were destroyed.
The “high” risk level means that farmers should keep all chickens, ducks and other birds inside, and additional security measures should be taken.
Europe experienced its worst bird flu crisis ever this year, killing almost 50 million birds. The virus’s continued presence over the summer has raised the risk of widespread infections next season, the EU’s Food Safety Agency (EFSA) said last month.