WOAH: France Reports Bird Flu Infection in Foxes near Paris

France has reported an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu, which is highly contagious, among a herd of red foxes in the north-eastern region of Paris, the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Tuesday (7/3). The outbreak comes at a time when the spread of the virus to mammals is causing global concern.

After three foxes were found dead in a nature reserve in Meaux near where the seagull died, one of the three foxes was taken and tested, WOAH said in a report, citing French authorities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) last month described the avian flu situation as “alarming” due to the recent increase in cases in birds and mammals and is reviewing its global risk assessment in light of recent developments including cases of human transmission in Cambodia.

In the past year, avian influenza, also known as bird flu, has spread worldwide, killing more than 200 million birds, skyrocketing egg prices and raising government concerns about transmission to humans.

The virus infected a cat in France in late December.

The virus has also been detected in rodents in Spain, foxes and otters in the UK, sea lions in Peru and grizzly bears in the United States. [my/rs]

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