France reports bird flu outbreak in foxes near Paris

France has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu among red foxes northeast of Paris, the World Organisation for Animal Health says, as the spread of the virus to mammals raises global concerns.

After three foxes were found dead in a nature reserve in Meaux near where gulls had died, one of the foxes was collected and tested, WOAH said in a report, citing French authorities.

The World Health Organisation last month described the bird flu situation as "worrying" due to the recent rise in cases in birds and mammals and that it was reviewing its global risk assessment in light of recent developments including cases of human transmission in Cambodia.

Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, has been spreading around the world in the past year, killing more than 200 million birds, sending egg prices rocketing and raising concern among governments about human transmission.

The virus infected a cat in France in late December.

It has also been detected in minks in Spain, foxes and otters in the United Kingdom, sea lions in Peru and grizzly bears in the United States.