Dutch poultry farmers have been ordered to keep all their birds indoors as a precaution after bird flu was identified in Germany, Poland, Hungary and several other countries.
In addition, Dutch officials are carrying out checks on several dead ducks found near Monninkendam in Noord-Holland province which are thought to have been carrying the highly infectious H5N8 variant of the disease
Poultry farms have also been told to boost levels of hygiene and reduce visitors to a minimum. The aim of the measures is to stop the disease spreading if it should be confirmed in the Netherlands, junior economic affairs minister Martijn van Dam told MPs in a briefing.
The last outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands was in 2014 but that was restricted to a handful of farms. The 2003 avian flu outbreak cost the Dutch poultry and egg industry at least €300m in direct costs at that time.
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