Wageningen University: Bird flu at Dutch poultry farms in 2020/2021

Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) has confirmed yet another introduction of bird flu at a Dutch poultry farm. It concerns H5 bird flu at a turkey farm in Weert. The type of bird flu is under investigation.

To prevent the virus from spreading, the turkey farm (13,000 animals) was culled by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). In the 1 kilometer zone around the infected farm there is one other poultry farm that was culled to prevent viral spread (66,000 animals).

There are seven other poultry farms in the 3 kilometer zone, these farms will be tested for bird flu.

In the 10 kilometer zone, there are 128 other poultry farms. In this 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. Part of this zone is in Belgium and measures of the Belgian authorities apply there.

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
Sint-Oedenrode Laying hens 35,000 HPAI H5N8 22 Feb
Moergestel Turkeys 18,000 HPAI H5N8 5 Jan
Buitenpost Breeding farm – chickens 28,000 HPAI H5N1* 15 Dec
Sint Annaparochie Broilers 21,000 HPAI H5N8 7 Dec
Maasland Chickens 500 HPAI H5N8 5 Dec
Hekendorp Laying hens 100,000 HPAI H5N8 22 Nov
Witmarsum Broilers 90,000 HPAI H5N8 21 Nov
Terwolde Meat ducks 20,000 HPAI H5N8 13 Nov
Lutjegast Laying hens 48,000 HPAI H5N8 10 Nov
Puiflijk Laying hens 100,000 HPAI H5N8 5 Nov
Altforst Broiler breeders 35,700 HPAI H5N8 29 Oct
HPAI = highly pathogenic avian influenza

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 and west of the Netherlands, sick or dead wild birds are currently 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.

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