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France steps up bird flu checks as new cases rise in two regions - farming ministry

PARIS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The French farming ministry on Wednesday announced it would step up precautionary measures as a spike in new bird flu cases was detected in farms located in the country's Western Brittany and Pays de la Loire regions.

17 bird flu clusters have been detected in the two regions as of last Friday, the ministry said in a statement, adding it therefore put in place additional checks and ordered farms to keep their birds inside as tests for the virus are being carried out.

Europe has experienced its worst bird flu crisis ever this year with nearly 50 million poultry culled. (Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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