Following consultation with the health authorities and the poultry industry, French Agriculture Minister  Stéphane Le Foll announced that no ducklings are to be placed on farms in the avian influenza-affected regions with effect from January 18. Empty houses must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. For the time being, at least, there will be no preventative culling of duck breeder flocks.

With no further new confirmed outbreaks of avian influenza in France since January 13, there are the first tentative signs that the situation is under control. There are a total of 69 confirmed outbreaks in 8 departments, all in the southwest of the country. That is four new outbreaks over the last two weeks – 1 each in Landes and Haute Garonne, and 2 in Pyrénées Atlantiques.

The situation for the French poultry industry remains serious, however. Saudi Arabia is the latest country to announce a ban on the import of poultry products from selected regions of France, reports Arabian Business.

Poor biosecurity blamed for new avian flu outbreaks in Nigeria

In recent official reports to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Nigerian veterinary authority has blamed poor biosecurity and particularly poultry workers visiting other farms for the spread of the virus – HPAI of the H5N1 subtype.

There have been 18 new outbreaks in seven states across the country in recent weeks. Affected farms kept pullets and/or laying hens, and these latest cases alone have led to the death or destruction of more than 320,700 birds.