In 2020/2021 bird flu was detected by Wageningen Bioveterinary Research at multiple poultry farms in the Netherlands. In most cases it concerns highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of the type H5N8 and in one case H5N1.
Overview of Dutch farms with bird flu
Below is an overview of bird flu infections on commercial poultry farms in the Netherlands from October 2020 - September 2021.
|Location||Type of farm||Number of animals||Type||Date test result|
|Weert||Turkeys||13,000||HPAI H5N8||21 May 2021|
|Sint-Oedenrode||Laying hens||35,000||HPAI H5N8||22 Feb 2021|
|Moergestel||Turkeys||18,000||HPAI H5N8||5 Jan 2021|
|Buitenpost||Breeding farm - chickens||28,000||HPAI H5N1*||15 Dec 2020|
|Sint Annaparochie||Broilers||21,000||HPAI H5N8||7 Dec 2020|
|Maasland||Chickens||500||HPAI H5N8||5 Dec 2020|
|Hekendorp||Laying hens||100,000||HPAI H5N8||22 Nov 2020|
|Witmarsum||Broilers||90,000||HPAI H5N8||21 Nov 2020|
|Terwolde||Meat ducks||20,000||HPAI H5N8||13 Nov 2020|
|Lutjegast||Laying hens||48,000||HPAI H5N8||10 Nov 2020|
|Puiflijk||Laying hens||100,000||HPAI H5N8||5 Nov 2020|
|Altforst||Broiler breeders||35,700||HPAI H5N8||29 Oct 2020|
HPAI = highly pathogenic avian influenza
The H5 avian influenza virus is still present in the Netherlands. It is important to remain alert for symptoms in wild birds and to report dead wild birds to the NVWA. For poultry farmers, a good biosecurity status and alertness to possible infections remain of great importance.
The obligation to house commercially kept poultry is withdrawn. It is still very important that appropriate hygiene measures are taken to minimise the risk of infection. For keepers of laying hens, breeding animals and broilers a stricter reporting obligation stays in place. They must report the loss of animals to the NVWA sooner. This allows bird flu infections to come to light earlier and reduces the risk of spreading.
Housing requirement withdrawn
The requirement to keep commercial poultry indoors was lifted on 6 July 2021. As a result of a bird flu outbreak in ornamental waterfowl in Heeten on 25 August 2021, the government has asked the expert group on Animal Diseases for a risk assessment for this region and for the whole of the Netherlands. The experts conclude that the risk has not changed since the last risk assessment. The government therefore sees no reason at this time to take additional measures, such as a regional or national obligation to keep animals indoors. All parties involved, including WBVR, will keep a close eye on the bird migration season and, if necessary, tighten the requirements at a later date. The monitoring of dead wild birds is ongoing in the Netherlands, and the monitoring of live wild birds will be started.