Zoo bird flu not the main risk for Dutch poultry farmers
The Netherlands, Europe's second-biggest poultry industry, is less
concerned about a suspected bird flu case in a Rotterdam zoo than about bird
migration later this year, according to an industry official.
Jan Wolleswinkel, chairman of the Dutch Association of Poultry Farmers, said
that even though the discovery of a highly infectious H5N1 avian
influenza strain at the zoo would mark the first such case in the
Netherlands, the danger to poultry farms was low.
"Contact between birds in a zoo and the farms is not to be expected," he
From 1 September, however, Dutch farmers will again have to keep poultry
inside to avoid contact with migrating wild birds, which could carry a bird flu
virus. This poses a greater danger than the discovery at the zoo, Wolleswinkel
The Dutch suffered a devastating outbreak of an H7N7 avian flu strain in 2003
that led to the culling of about a third of the poultry flock, some 30 million
The Dutch agriculture ministry said on Saturday that the young
owls which died in a zoo in Rotterdam are suspected of having the H5N1 bird flu
virus. The birds had not yet been vaccinated because they were born after a
recent round of vaccinations had taken place.
A ministry spokeswoman said further tests were being conducted to confirm the
suspicion. Authorities are currently testing other birds in the zoo, most of
which were vaccinated.
The Netherlands found
a low-pathogenic H7 bird flu strain at a farm earlier this month, prompting
five countries to ban imports of Dutch poultry.
Wolleswinkel said he did not expect the Rotterdam zoo case to lead to further
import bans. "There are quite different rules for zoos. It has been possible to
vaccinate birds in zoos already for some time," he said.
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.