10,000 ducks culled in latest bird flu outbreak in Gelderland

Some ducks
Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol via Pixabay
Some ducks
Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol via Pixabay

Some 10,000 ducks have been culled in the latest outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in Nijkerk in Gelderland, food safety watchdog NVWA has said.

The farm is situated on the edge of the Gelderse Vallei, which is home to another 196 poultry farms.

Poultry farms near the affected farm are not allowed to transport their birds to avoid further infection and six farms at a three kilometre distance will be closely monitored for infections with the virus in the next two weeks. Duck hunting in the area will also be banned.

Bird flu is becoming more widespread in Gelderland. Some 60,000 broiler chickens were culled ten days ago at a farm in Loo.

Altogether around five million birds have been killed on infected farms since the first outbreak in Zeeworlde in October 2021, while another 1.1 million have been culled to try to prevent the disease spreading further. The real number is almost certainly higher as the NVWA does not monitor smallholdings with fewer than 50 animals.

The H5N1 strain has been present in Europe since 2005 and is spread by wild birds. Walkers and beachgoers have been warned to stay away from dead birds in case they are infected.

The last comparable outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands was in 2003, when 30 million birds were killed at 255 locations. The European Centre for Disease Prevention says the current outbreak is the worst in the continent’s history, spanning 37 countries from Norway to Ukraine.

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