December 16, 2016 / 6:49 PM / 3 years ago

France reports another bird flu strain in southwest

A duck is seen in its enclosure at a poultry farm in Doazit, Southwestern France, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

PARIS (Reuters) - France has detected H5N9 avian influenza among poultry in the southwest of the country, an official report showed on Friday, the third strain of bird flu to be confirmed this month in the region known for its foie gras production.

Bird flu has spread across Europe in recent weeks, prompting preventative slaughtering of poultry or confinement of flocks indoors. In Asia, meanwhile, the rapid spread of a different strain of the disease has led South Korea to order the culling of millions of birds.

Two outbreaks of low pathogenic H5N9 bird flu were confirmed in the past week among poultry in the Gers administrative department, France’s agriculture ministry said in a report posted online by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

This led to the slaughtering of 970 birds out of 1,870 at risk in the outbreaks, the report showed.

The Gers this month also saw the first case of H5N1 in France in the current wave of bird flu.

It is also one of several areas of southwestern France to be affected by the highly contagious H5N8 strain.

Twenty seven outbreaks of H5N8 bird flu have been confirmed on farms in the southwest, the agriculture ministry said in an update on its website on Friday.

The spread of the disease is a setback for French poultry producers recovering from an epidemic a year ago that hit the foie gras industry, which uses goose and duck liver to make the specialty.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Susan Fenton

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