November 18, 2014


'Highly pathogenic' bird flu strain discovered in Netherlands



Dutch health authorities said some 150,000 chickens will be destroyed in a farm in Hekendorp, Utrecht province, where a strain of bird flu that had yet to be identified was detected, according to news reports.


The Dutch government said in a statement that the avian influenza was "highly pathogenic" and could be transferred to humans.


The discovery of the strain of bird flu compelled Dutch authorities to impose a 72-hour ban, starting Sunday, November 16, on the transport of poultry in the Netherlands. The ban includes moving poultry, eggs and bird manure. However, it could last up to 30 days in a 10-kilometre ring around the affected farm, authorities said.


Concerned authorities said 16 other farms in the area would be tested for the bird flu strain. Hunting has also been banned across the country and visitors will be subjected to new restrictions.


In 2003 the H7N7 strain of avian flu hit the Netherlands and health authorities destroyed 30 million birds to contain the outbreak.