NEW cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza are beginning to emerge in Europe, prompting the French government to raise its bird flu alert level.

According to the country’s farm ministry, there have been 25 detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild and captive birds in Europe since 1 August.

See also: France to consider avian influenza vaccines

They include one in backyard poultry in northeastern France and Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

The higher risk rating in France, from “moderate” to “negligible” would lead to some regional housing orders, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government’s expert working group on avian influenza has said pressure from avian influenza could be higher this winter than last.

As migration increases from mid-September, the group expects cases to rise.

It has said that the virus remains present in the country, so incoming migratory waterfowl are likely to import fresh viral loads and circulate virus that is already present.

The group also notes that the weather will play a role in determining the progress of avian influenza this winter.