PARIS, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- France raised its risk level to "high" after the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu strains were found at farms in southwestern France and in wild ducks in the northern part of the country, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.
"The decision is motivated by the rapid change of the hygiene situation in France and in several European countries and the dynamics of the virus's spread," the ministry said in a statement.
Reinforced protection measures will be implemented throughout France, the ministry said.
Following the rising risks of bird flu spreading, France has already imposed precautionary measures including confinement and safety nets to prevent poultry from coming into contact with wild birds and to restrict hunters, notably of wild feathered game, in high risk areas.
In the latest series of outbreaks in Europe, France announced on Dec. 2 there'd been a new case of avian influenza on a duck farm in the southwestern department of Tarn as well as in 20 wild ducks used to hunt waterfowl last month.
France, one of the European Union's (EU) leading poultry breeder and main producer of foie gras, detected bird flu outbreak last year, forcing a ban of all duck and goose production in many southwestern departments.