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France raises bird-flu risk level as H5N8 found in backyard poultry

France has raised its bird flu alert level after the virus was found among backyard poultry in the northeast, on top of cases in neighbouring Belgium and Luxembourg, the farm ministry said on Friday.

PARIS, Sept 10 (Reuters) - France has raised its bird flu alert level after the virus was found among backyard poultry in the northeast, on top of cases in neighbouring Belgium and Luxembourg, the farm ministry said on Friday.

The latest cases involving the H5N8 strain of bird flu had prompted France to increase its risk assessment to "moderate" from "negligible", which would lead to poultry being confined indoors in some areas, the ministry said in a statement.

The outbreak in France would not compromise the bird flu-free status the country had just obtained again after a previous wave of bird flu hit its southwestern duck-breeding region, the ministry added.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

((gus.trompiz@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 52 18; Reuters Messaging: gus.trompiz.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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