France has so far recorded a total of 30 outbreaks of avian influenza (AI), according to the country’s agriculture ministry – an increase of 15 new cases since a previous report just two days ago.

The same five regions (departments) in the south-west of the country west are affected: Dordogne (total of 11 outbreaks), Landes (13), Haute-Vienne (1), Gers (3) and Pyrénées Atlantiques (2).

Details of the latest outbreaks are understandably sketchy. In Dordogne, there were 2 new outbreaks in Campagnac-les-Querc and one in Saint Armand de Coly.

In Landes, the virus has been detected in three cases when birds were tested prior to slaughter in the districts of Saint Etienne d'Orthe, Bergouey and Monségur. There were also 6 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Momuy, Saint-Cricq-Chalosse, Montaut, Gaujacq, Serreslous-et-Arribans and Hauriet.

HPAI of the H5 variant has been detected at 2 new locations in the department of Gers: in ducks prior to slaughter in Panjas and in a flock of 2,000 guinea fowl and ducks in Mirande, which showed characteristic symptoms of the disease.

A second outbreak has occurred in Pyrénées Atlantiques, where a flock of 1,240 ducks has been affected.

Tests are on-going to determine the virus subtype and pathogenicity in each outbreak.

According to Thomson Reuters, a new subtype of the AI virus – H5N3 – has been detected at 3 locations in France (2 in Landes and 1 in Pyrénées Atlantiques) during enhanced surveillance. It is reportedly a low-pathogenic form. With the presence of H5N1, H5N2 and H5N9 already confirmed, the latest revelation would mean that 4 different subtypes of the AI virus are circulating in France at the present time.