Flevoland farm hit by first bird flu outbreak since January

Chickens on a factory farm. Photo: Depositphotos.com

An organic poultry farm in Biddinghuizen in Flevoland has become the first commercial business to be hit by bird flu since January.

The agriculture ministry has ordered all 11,000 laying hens to be destroyed and has established a 10-kilometre transport ban around the farm. Commercially-held birds in the area have to be kept indoors.

Two other farms less than three kilometers from the contaminated farm are being monitored for the virus.

The news comes just weeks after farmers were no longer required to keep their birds indoors, following a sharp drop in cases. Only farms in areas in Gelderland and Limburg are still banned from allowing their ducks, geese and chickens outside because they run the risk of picking up the virus from wild birds.

Europe has been struggling to contain the biggest outbreak of bird flu since 2003. Bird flu has been endemic among wild birds since 2022 making infection from wild birds a year-round occurrence.

In the Netherlands some seven million chickens and ducks have been killed as a result of bird flu since 2021.

Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) is currently testing two vaccines that may be effective against the highly pathogenic virus.

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