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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany reported a first case of the contagious bird flu strain H5N1 on Friday on a small poultry farm in the northeastern state of Brandenburg, the state's consumer protection ministry said.
The farm in the Oberhavel district was sealed off and some 500 chicks, ducks and geese were culled, a spokeswoman for the consumer protection ministry of Brandenburg said.
"It's the first time in the current season that this type of bird flu was detected on a poultry farm in Brandenburg," the spokeswoman said.
The H5N1 strain is regarded as highly pathogenic, but less dangerous than the even more contagious H5N8 strain found in several European countries in the past few weeks.
France reported a H5N8 case of bird flu on Friday on a duck farm in the southwest, another setback for French poultry and foie gras exports which were hit by a similar outbreak a year ago.
The avian influenza virus was confirmed at a farm in the Tarn region, the agriculture ministry said, days after the virus was detected among wild birds in northern France and following outbreaks in Europe linked to migrating birds. [nL8N1DX1AL]
The H5N8 bird flu strain has also been found in over 370 wild birds in Germany since the present outbreak started in early November. Three large farms have suffered outbreaks along with a series of small farms, hobby poultry owners and zoos.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Tom Heneghan