Bird flu at Dutch poultry farms in 2020

In Puiflijk bird flu (H5) was diagnosed on 5 November 2020 at a farm with laying hens. It is probably a highly pathogenic variant of bird flu, this is still being investigated by Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR). The infection follows after a first infection in the Netherlands, in Altforst on 29 October at a farm with broiler breeders. This concerned the highly pathogenic strain H5N8 of bird flu.

WBVR is conducting further research into the genetic relationship between the viruses demonstrated on the two farms. This will have to show whether it concerns the same variant of the virus.

Screening

The infected farm in Puiflijk is located inside the 3 km radius that was announced last week after bird flu was detected at the Altforst farm. A 3 km and a 10 km zone is now also being imposed around the Pluifijk farm, for which measures apply from today. Because the second infected farm is close to the first farm, the 3 and 10 km zones largely overlap.

There are six other poultry farms within a 3 km radius of the infected farm in Puiflijk, including the previously culled farm. The other farms in this zone are sampled and investigated for avian flu. There are also a further 24 poultry farms inside the 10 km zone around the Puiflijk farm. A transport ban has been imposed inside this zone.

Transport ban

Carola Schouten, Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, announced an immediate transport ban for poultry farms in a 10 km zone around the farm in Puiflijk. The ban covers poultry, eggs, poultry manure and used litter, as well as other animals and animal products from commercial poultry farms.

Measures

All current national measures in the Netherlands, such as the obligation for commercial poultry to be kept indoors, will remain in full force. In addition, zoos, petting zoos and owners of hobby birds are required to shield their poultry and waterfowl so that they do not come into contact with wild waterfowl and their droppings. This can be done by keeping the birds in an aviary or a run, for example. Zoos and petting zoos may still receive visitors. The existing hygiene protocol for visitors of commercial poultry farms is being extended. Among other things, this means that visitors will only be permitted to enter the shed or yard after taking strict hygiene measures. A ban on shows and exhibitions of ornamental poultry and waterfowl has also been imposed.

With these measures, wild birds are separated from poultry as far as possible to prevent further spread of the virus as best as possible.

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