France's agriculture ministry on Wednesday said an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu had been found in the southwest part of the country.

"A case of avian influenza has been confirmed in a backyard in Dordogne," it said in a statement.

The bird flu outbreak, found among chickens, was the first one in France since 2006, a ministry spokesman told Reuters.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll immediately asked his services to activate a national intervention emergency plan following European and international rules, the ministry said.

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