French bird flu wave ends after 10 million birds culled

French bird flu wave ends after 10 million birds culled
Swans swim in the Stock pond in Rhodes eastern France, 22 August 2007. EPA/CHRISTOPHE KARABA

PARIS, June 28 (Reuters) - A wave of bird flu outbreaks in France last month has come to a halt after the culling of 10 million birds this season, the farm ministry said on Wednesday, as it confirmed it would launch vaccination against the virus in the autumn.

France has been among countries worst affected by the unprecedented spread of avian influenza – commonly called bird flu – that has killed hundreds of millions of birds in the past two years, disrupting supply of poultry meat and eggs.

Some 22 million birds were culled in France in the 2021/22 season.

Vaccination against bird flu will start in October and will be mandatory for all ducks across France, making it the first country in the world to launch a nationwide vaccination campaign, farm ministry officials told reporters.

The length of the vaccination campaign – whether all year round or just in the autumn and winter – is still to be decided, depending on the budget allocated, the officials said.

The French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products (ANMV) has cleared the use of vaccines from three companies, France’s Ceva Animal Health, Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim and U.S. firm Zoetis Animal Health ZTS.N, they said.

pre-order for 80 million doses was launched in April and a formal decision is expected next month, the officials said.

Tests carried out in France on Ceva and Boehringer Ingelheim’s vaccines showed favourable results. The officials could not say where Zoetis had carried out its tests.

Governments have increasingly considered vaccination in the past months to stem the spread of the virus, although some are resisting due to concerns it could hit exports to countries that have banned vaccinated poultry on fears infected birds could slip through the net.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Mark Potter)


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