Avian flu outbreak confirmed in the Netherlands

A 3 km Protection Zone and a 10 km Surveillance Zone have been established around a poultry premise in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands due to confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. The farm had nearly 16,000 ducks and is located approximately 45 miles east of Amsterdam.

All susceptible animals on the infected premise have been culled and all premises within the 3 km Protection Zone have been screened. All samples of the screened premises tested negative. This H5N6 subtype is a re-assortment linked to H5N8 and not the Asian zoonotic H5N6.

There are currently no outbreaks of Avian Influenza in the UK. DEFRA have updated its outbreak assessment which can be found here.

The NFU said vigilance and biosecurity were two of its key messages to all poultry keepers. The wild bird population has previously been responsible for spreading the AI virus and it’s important for poultry keepers to minimise the contact between wild birds and poultry flocks as far as possible.

It is important to remain vigilant for signs of disease and report anything suspicious to your local vet without delay. Clinical symptoms and routes of transmission are detailed in the NFU’s Avian Influenza guide which can be found here. It may be useful to ensure all staff members are aware of these clinical signs.

All bird keepers must take extra biosecurity steps, including:

  • minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds
  • making sure that feed and water can’t be accessed by wild birds
  • taking all reasonable precautions to avoid the transfer of contamination between premises, including cleansing and disinfection of equipment, vehicles and footwear
  • reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept
  • implementing effective vermin control programmes around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept
  • thoroughly cleansing and disinfecting housing and equipment at the end of a production cycle
  • keeping Defra-approved disinfectant at the right concentration at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses

Backyard keepers:

There is lots of advice for backyard keepers including preparations ahead of winter and top tips for keeping your birds safe on the NFU’s Countryside website and copies of an infographic poster produced in collaboration with DEFRA and other industry stakeholders is available for download here.

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