The outbreak of avian influenza on a turkey farm in the South of the Netherlands has been confirmed to be of a relatively mild variety, H5N2.
Dutch veterinary authorities had to cull all 44,500 turkeys on Sunday and Monday, since H5 viruses are potentially harmful – mutation is possible into a harmful variety.
The producer had not noticed any clear clinical signs – there was only a slight drop in feed intake in the weeks before.
The producer, located near the town of Kelpen-Oler, 10 km from the border with Belgium, will have to halt his business for another two weeks before starting up again.
The whole farm had been cleared before as part of prevention measures during an outbreak in 2003.
The direct area around the farm is known to be full of intensive poultry farms, with three more turkey farms. In total, in the town’s rural district, there are 38 poultry farms. A 2011 inventory showed that the area houses 82,225 head of turkeys and 2.7 million head of poultry.
In a 3 km radius around the farm, 25 farms will have to be screened and tested for avian influenza. Results are expected later this month.
The outbreak means that transport of poultry, birds as well as breeding and consumption eggs is forbidden now. Manure transport is forbidden too, with the exception of mammal manure from non-poultry farms.
Russia, as well as Kazakhstan and Belarus, have closed their borders for several Dutch poultry products after the outbreak was reported. The countries did so for Dutch breeding eggs and one day chicks.
Dutch deputy minister Henk Bleker paid a visit to the farm on Monday and confirmed that the producer has a good reputation.