Suspected bird flu in Netherlands not H5 strain
Dutch authorities have found antibodies of a low-pathogenic strain of
bird flu in a pullet rearing farm in the province of Gelderland.
They discovered the farm as a result of a mandatory monitoring program, which
has been in place since the major bird
flu outbreak that hit the Netherlands in 2003. PCR testing diagnosed the
farm positive, and a serology test will conclude what strain infected the birds.
The ministry said in a statement that it was an H7 virus, but a much less
hazardous variety than the H7N7 strain found in 2003. As yet, no relationship to
wild bird populations has been established.
Sampling and testing of nearby farms has not uncovered any further evidence
of a spreading of the virus. All pullets on the suspect farm have been culled,
while three contact farms have been quarantined.
The Netherlands is a world top poultry exporter and Europe's second biggest
producer after France.
Dutch authorities have never reported any cases of the highly pathogenic H5N1
avian flu strain found in several European Union countries.
The Netherlands was hit by the H7N7 avian flu strain in 2003, leading to the
culling of around 30 million birds, about a third of the Dutch poultry
and information on bird flu / avian infleunza.
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