Netherlands to cull 35,700 chickens after bird flu outbreak

Dutch animal health authorities today announced a cull of 35,700 broiler chickens after an outbreak of a highly contagious strain of bird flu at a poultry farm in the eastern village of Altforst.

Animals are also being examined for avian flu in nine other poultry farms within a three-kilometer radius of the affected farm and a transport ban has been imposed in a 10-kilometer zone. The embargo covers poultry, eggs, poultry manure and used bedding as well as other animals and animal products from poultry farms.

Strict hygiene measures have also been imposed around commercial stables and yards. Displays of ornamental poultry and water birds have been prohibited.

Zoos, petting zoos and bird owners have additionally been told to shield their poultry and waterfowl to prevent them from coming into contact with wild waterfowl droppings. Dutch farmers had already been ordered to keep their birds indoors to prevent exposure to the illness.

The latest measures follow the discovery of two wild mute swans which tested positive for the H5N8 virus in the Groene Hart region of the Netherlands last week.

Action to counter the new strain of bird flu, which is thought to have spread from western Russia and Kazakhstan, has also been taken in France and Poland.

No human infections from the H5N8 bird flu strain have been reported and the risk of transmission is considered low.

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