New case of bird flu detected in Netherlands

December 1, 2014 9:43 am 

THE HAGUE, Dec. 1 — A new case of bird flu has been detected at a poultry farm in Zoeterwoude in the province of South Holland, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs announced on Sunday.

The case in Zoeterwoude is about a variant of H5 avian influenza at a laying hens company with a total of 28,000 birds. The affected farm will be cleared by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) on Sunday.

It is not yet clear whether it is about the low pathogenic or high pathogenic variant of H5 avian influenza. Further analysis should reveal the exact type of bird flu. According to expectations of the ministry the results of this analysis will be available on Dec. 1, 2014.

All four other poultry farms within 10 kilometers of the company in Zoeterwoude will be investigated on the existence of bird flu as well. The cause of the infection is unknown. The chickens had no outdoor access.

The first infection of the recent outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands was discovered on Nov. 15 at a farm in Hekendorp, in the province of Utrecht.

Five days later, the virus appeared at a poultry farm in the village of Ter Aar, in South Holland, followed by two infections at one duck and one chicken farm in Kamperveen, in the province of Overijssel. All bird flu infections involved the H5N8 variant. Following the last announcement of bird flu in Kamperveen on Friday Nov. 21 no new cases were reported.

Last Sunday a national poultry transport ban of 72 hours came to an end. Instead of a new national policy the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs imposed a regional approach to fight the bird flu outbreak. The country was divided into four poultry regions. Contact between these regions was reduced to a minimum. All measures were designed to prevent a further spread of bird flu. The measures are expected to last at least another two weeks from now on.

"This is a major setback," Sharon Dijksma, Dutch State Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, reacted in TV show Buitenhof on Sunday. "We have taken a maximum of measures since the outbreak in Hekendorp two weeks ago. We still hope that it won' t be that bad as in 2003."

The last major outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands was in 2003, the H7N7 variant. Around 30.7 million animals were culled in total at that time. (PNA/Xinhua)



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