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Bird flu at Dutch poultry farms in 2020/2021

Gepubliceerd op
10 juni 2021

Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) has confirmed yet another introduction of bird flu in Dutch poultry. It concerns H5 avian influenza at a bird pasture with poultry and water fowl in Vleuten. The type of bird flu is under investigation by WBVR.

To prevent the virus from spreading, the 56 infected animals in the pasture were culled by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). In the 10 kilometer zone around the pasture, there are no other poultry farms.

Transport ban

In the 10 kilometer zone a transport ban applies. This ban covers poultry, eggs, poultry manure and used bedding, as well as other animals and certain products from commercial poultry companies.

Overview of previous Dutch farms with bird flu

Below is an overview of previous bird flu infections on commercial poultry farms in the Netherlands in 2020/2021.

Location Type of farm Number of animals Type Date test result
Weert Turkeys 13,000 HPAI H5N8 21 May 2021
Sint-Oedenrode Laying hens 35,000 HPAI H5N8 22 Feb 2021
Moergestel Turkeys 18,000 HPAI H5N8 5 Jan 2021
Buitenpost Breeding farm - chickens 28,000 HPAI H5N1* 15 Dec 2020
Sint Annaparochie Broilers 21,000 HPAI H5N8 7 Dec 2020
Maasland Chickens 500 HPAI H5N8 5 Dec 2020
Hekendorp Laying hens 100,000 HPAI H5N8 22 Nov 2020
Witmarsum Broilers 90,000 HPAI H5N8 21 Nov 2020
Terwolde Meat ducks 20,000 HPAI H5N8 13 Nov 2020
Lutjegast Laying hens 48,000 HPAI H5N8 10 Nov 2020
Puiflijk Laying hens 100,000 HPAI H5N8 5 Nov 2020
Altforst Broiler breeders 35,700 HPAI H5N8 29 Oct 2020

HPAI = highly pathogenic avian influenza

*H5N1 bird flu

The HPAI H5N1 virus at the farm in Buitenpost is the first introduction of this subtype virus in poultry in Europe. The H5N1 virus was found in several wild birds in the Netherlands. Genetic analyses shows that the virus in these wild birds is related to the HPAI H5N8 virus in the Netherlands. This H5N1 virus is not related to the virus that infected people in Asia. WBVR will will determine the entire genome sequence of the H5N1 virus found at the farm, and study the relationship with wild bird viruses in the Netherlands.

Measures

All current national measures, such as the obligation to house commercially kept poultry, will remain in full force. As of this week, for keepers of laying hens, breeding animals and broilers a stricter reporting obligation is in place. They must report the loss of animals to the NVWA sooner. This allows bird flu infections to come to light earlier and reduces the risk of spreading.

In addition, zoos, petting zoos and hobby bird owners are required to shield their poultry and waterfowl so that these animals do not come into contact with wild waterfowl and their droppings. This can be done, for example, by keeping the animals in an aviary or by placing them in a run. Furthermore, a ban has been imposed on the display of ornamental poultry and water birds.

Wild birds

In particular in the north of the Netherlands, sick or dead wild birds are currently still found that test positive for avian flu. These birds are sent and examined. The advice is not to pick up dead birds yourself, but to report this to the Dutch Wildlife Health Center or the NVWA. Every week the NVWA places an update on the website where dead wild birds are found that are infected with the virus. Or see the overview map by WBVR elsewhere on this page.