The little cat is dead …

Following the discovery of a cat corpus infected with the H5N1 virus in Germany, confinement of cats was decided in the infected areas. With the embargo imposed by more than 40 countries, the French poultry sector is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, but domestic consumption is recovering somewhat. Discover the latest protection measures against the threat of a possible pandemic

Poultry sector: the crisis breaks up

Containment of cats in infected areas, embargo against French poultry, resumption of domestic consumption, simulation exercises. we presents the latest news from the front of the fight against avian flu.

Imaginary patients landing in Lyon

Following the ingestion of birds infected with the H5N1 virus, several cats died infected with the avian influenza virus in Germany on the island of Rügen. Since mid-February, more than 100 corpses of infected wild birds have been counted on this island. This discovery confirms the ability of the virus to infect and make ill felines, normally not sensitive to influenza viruses. Although this first case of a fatal infection in a mammal in Europe arouses great excitement, the surprise is not complete. As of December, Thai researchers confirmed the presence of the H5N1 virus on cats, panthers and tigers. At that time, virologists were surprised by the ability of the virus to survive the gastric juices of these felines. A previous study 1 showed that cats can not only contract the virus and pass it on to other cats by excreting the respiratory tract. The virus has even been found in excretions of the digestive tract.2 And today one wonders what role domestic cats could play in the transmission of the epidemic. Does this contamination of an animal so close to humans promote the risk of mutating the virus? It is difficult to categorically answer this question. Naturally, the cat is not sensitive to influenza viruses, so the risk of mixing and combining several influenza viruses in this animal is low. No case of transmission from cat to man has ever been recorded. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the risk of cat-to-man transmission as minimal, but not totally excluding it .; The Ministry of Health, the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) ) 3 recommends the confinement of cats and the monitoring of their mortality in areas infected with the H5N1 virus (in the United States only the Dombes area is concerned). AFSSA states that in areas free of birds infected by the virus the risk of infection of the cat is zero. There is therefore no particular action to be taken. An order signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries specifies that in the areas concerned

In addition to the discovery of a 16th swan with the highly pathogenic virus in Ain, the week was marked by the embargo imposed by more than 40 countries on French poultry. As the leading European exporter, the poultry sector faces an unprecedented crisis. "In addition to the € 11 million emergency package, we will provide additional aid of € 52 million. Farmers will have all the necessary support, especially in health matters," said the Prime Minister at his conference Monthly press conference of 1 March 2006 4. The Minister of Agriculture has also ensured that these funds will be immediately released and used in three forms

Domestic poultry consumption, which had fallen by almost 30% at the end of February, recovered at the beginning of March, as the number of promotional offers dropped by only 15%. Agriculture has clarified in a press release dated 1 March that the United States has expanded the surveillance zone for avian influenza set up in the Ain. It now covers 4 départements 5. "This new delimitation is a precautionary measure aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, and it covers about 300 communes that touch 4 départements: mainly Ain, but also a small part of the" Isère, the Rhône and the Saône et Loire, "the statement said.

A simulation exercise was held in Lyon on Friday, February 24 according to a well-established scenario: two suspected patients return from Asia land at the airport. In the presence of Dominique de Villepin and Xavier Bertrand, Minister of Health, this exercise aims to test the government's mechanism against the disease. According to the Prime Minister, a new exercise will be held this month in Paris at the national level. 4 In addition, other protective measures have been announced by Didier Houssin 5, Director-General for Health and interministerial delegate to the The introduction of a preventive vaccination campaign for ducks and geese which can not be confined to three départements (Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Vendée), biosafety measures ( Pedestrians, restriction of the human presence to breeders ...), prohibition to approach within 100 meters of the lakes of the Dombes, privileged passage of migratory birds ... Gilles Brucker, director of the Institute of health watch, confirmed For the time being, the absence of risks to human health. The 212 requests for people returning from countries hit by the H5N1 virus resulted in 25 in-depth tests for the H5N1 virus, all of which were negative.

But as the President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, reminded us, "we must remain totally vigilant, especially during the whole period of the return of migratory birds."
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1 - Science. 2004 Oct 8,306 (5694): 241. Epub 2004 Sep 2; 2 - Am J Pathol. 2006, Jan 168 (1): 176-83, quiz 364. 3 - Afssa opinion of 3 March 2006 4 - Prime Minister's speech at his monthly press conference of 1 March 2006 5 - Press release of Ministry of Agriculture of 1 March; 6 - Avian influenza: Situation update - press conference of 27 February 2006

Cats must be kept locked in. Dogs must be held tightly or locked. They can travel on public roads if they are kept on a leash or under the direct control of their master. However, dogs and cats can be transported in a cage, in a closed basket or inside a vehicle. Moreover, it is reminded not to touch the dead dogs and cats and to inform the departmental veterinary services. Good hygiene measures in livestock must be particularly respected in the areas concerned (no animal carcasses, organic waste or foods likely to attract carnivores). These temporary precautionary measures should not encourage the abandonment of pets.

A television campaign, pointing out that French poultry is 'perfectly under control', that its consumption is therefore risk-free, EUR 20 million for breeders, EUR 30 million for aid to the poultry sector ( Industries, slaughterhouses, cutting)