Cells culture examination, manipulations in P3 laboratory© BURGER/PHANIE/REX Shutterstock

French vets are dealing with at least three strains of high-pathogenic bird flu as the disease continues to spread across the south-west of the country.

The ministry of agriculture has reported 12 cases of the disease in four regions of the country since the outbreak started on 24 November.

In a statement on its website, it said seven cases of high-pathogenic avian influenza (AI) – H5N1, H5N2 and H5N9 – had been detected in the Dordogne region. Three cases had been discovered in the Landes region, of which two were H5N9 strains. The two other affected regions have been Gers and Haute-Vienne.

See also: Bird flu insurance in place for free-range producers

The latest two cases have been in the Gers region, where a total of 8,300 ducks were destroyed after the H5N2 virus was discovered, while more than 21,600 birds, including 12,600 broilers were culled after H5N9 was found at a farm in the neighbouring Landes region.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency have this week updated their report on the French outbreak.

It said the risk to the UK of these outbreaks may depend on what the sequencing reveals about the origin of the different virus strains.

“At the moment, it is not known whether mutation from low-pathogenic AI to high-pathogenic AI [H5N1/H5N2] has occurred in poultry farms themselves, or were introduced by some other transmission pathway from another source.”

It added that monitoring and surveillance of the French outbreak would continue.

The last of the poultry industry’s AI roadshows will take place next week at the Stoneybeck Inn, Bowscar, Penrith, Cumbria on 16 December.