Netherlands reports H5N8 avian influenza outbreak in poultry farm

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Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) has confirmed a new introduction of avian influenza in Dutch poultry. It is highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in a bird pasture with poultry and waterfowl in Vleuten.

To prevent the spread of the virus, the 56 infected animals in the pasture were slaughtered by the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority (NVWA). In the 10 kilometer area around the pasture there are no other poultry farms.

Prohibition of transport

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

Overview of old Dutch farms with bird flu

Below is an overview of previous avian influenza infections in commercial poultry farms in the Netherlands in 2020/2021.

Location Farm type Number of animals Type Date of test result
Weert Turkeys 13,000 IAHP H5N8 May 21, 2021
Saint-Oedenrode Laying hens 35,000 IAHP H5N8 February 22, 2021
Moergestel Turkeys 18,000 IAHP H5N8 Jan 5, 2021
Buitenpost Breeding farm – chickens 28,000 IAHP H5N1 * Dec 15 2020
Saint Annaparochia Broilers 21,000 IAHP H5N8 Dec. 7 2020
Maasland Chickens 500 IAHP H5N8 Dec 5 2020
Hekendorp Laying hens 100,000 IAHP H5N8 November 22, 2020
Witmarsum Broilers 90,000 IAHP H5N8 November 21, 2020
Terwolde Duck meat 20,000 IAHP H5N8 Nov 13, 2020
Lutjegast Laying hens 48,000 IAHP H5N8 Nov 10, 2020
Puiflijk Laying hens 100,000 IAHP H5N8 Nov 5, 2020
Altforst Broiler breeders 35,700 IAHP H5N8 Oct 29, 2020

HPAI = highly pathogenic avian influenza

* H5N1 avian influenza

The HPAI H5N1 virus from the Buitenpost farm is the first introduction of this virus subtype in poultry in Europe. The H5N1 virus has been found in several wild birds in the Netherlands. Genetic analyzes show that the virus from these wild birds is related to the HPAI H5N8 virus in the Netherlands. This H5N1 virus is unrelated to the virus that infected people in Asia. WBVR will determine the complete genome sequence of the H5N1 virus found on the farm and study the relationship with viruses from wild birds in the Netherlands.

Measures

The obligation to house commercially farmed poultry is in place. In addition, zoos, petting zoos and owners of pleasure birds are required to protect 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 placing them in an enclosure. In addition, a ban has been imposed on the exhibition of ornamental poultry and waterfowl.

The housing obligation is abolished for certain Dutch regions. On the RVO animal disease viewer can be seen which parts of the country it concerns.

For holders of laying hens, breeding animals and broilers, a more stringent reporting obligation is in place. They must report the loss of animals to NVWA sooner. This allows bird flu infections to show up earlier and reduces the risk of spread.

Wild birds

In particular in the north of the Netherlands, sick or dead wild birds can still be found today which test positive for avian influenza. These birds are sent and examined. The advice is not to pick up dead birds yourself, but to report it to the Dutch Wildlife Health Center or the NVWA. Every week, NVWA posts an update to the website where dead wild birds are found infected with the virus. Or check out the WBVR overview map elsewhere on this page.


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