PARIS (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo has reported three outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5 bird flu among poultry in the northeastern province of Ituri, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday.
The virus was detected among ducks and hens in three villages near the border with Uganda, the Paris-based OIE said, citing a report from the Congolese agriculture ministry.
The disease caused the death of more than 12,000 birds, with mortality higher in ducks than in hens, according to the report.
The H5N8 strain of bird flu has been present in Uganda and the heavy trade of poultry animals and products across the border would have to be considered, the report said.
H5N8 bird flu has been found in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since late last year, propagated by wild birds, and has led to massive preventive culling of poultry in countries such as France.
The source of the outbreaks in Congo was not yet known and the exact strain of H5 bird flu not indicated.
Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Bate Felix and David Evans