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Netherlands reports outbreak of H5N8 bird flu at a poultry farm

After the latest outbreak of bird flu at a Dutch poultry farm, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) has updated its bird flu tracker and mitigation measures.

6 July 2021, at 8:34am

Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) has confirmed yet another introduction of bird flu in Dutch poultry. It concerns highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza at a bird pasture with poultry and water fowl in Vleuten.

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.

LocationType of farmNumber 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

The obligation to house commercially kept poultry is withdrawn. It is still very important that appropriate hygiene measures are taken to minimise the risk of infection. For keepers of laying hens, breeding animals and broilers a stricter reporting obligation stays 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.

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.