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Bird flu at poultry farms in 2021/2022

Published on
May 3, 2022

In the bird flu season of 2021/2022, multiple highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza infections on Dutch poultry farms have been identified by Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR). To prevent the virus from spreading, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has culled the animals at these farms.

Bird flu infections from autumn 2021

In the tables below are all infections with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) as of October 2021 at Dutch poultry farms and hobby farms with 50 or more birds. For all cases tested positive, including wild birds and smaller hobby farms, view the map elsewhere on this page.

Highly pathogenic bird flu at commercial poultry farms

Location Type of farm Number of animals Type Date
Lunteren IX Rearing laying hens 90,000 H5N1 2 May 2022
Lunteren VIII Laying hens 50,000 H5N1 28 April 2022
Barneveld II Laying hens 17,000 H5N1 24 April 2022
Terschuur Chicken breeder farm 28,600 H5N1 24 April 2022
Lunteren VII Laying hens 88,000 H5N1 22 April 2022
Lunteren VI Ducks 3,000 H5N1 21 April 2022
Lunteren V Laying hens 280,000* H5N1 20 April 2022
Lunteren IV Laying hens * H5N1 20 April 2022
Voorthuizen Laying hens 26,000 H5N1 19 April 2022
Barneveld I Laying hens 34,000 H5N1 15 April 2022
Lunteren III Meat ducks 8,500 H5N1 12 April 2022
Lunteren I Laying hens 40,000 H5N1 10 March 2022
Hekendorp Laying hens 121,000 H5N1 5 March 2022
Hedel Turkeys 64,500 H5N1 3 March 2022
Son Broilers 170,000 H5N1 1 March 2022
Wageningen Chicken breeder farm 47,000 H5N1 1 March 2022
Losdorp Broilers 37,000 H5N1 28 Feb 2022
Hellum Turkeys 16,000 H5N1 27 Feb 2022
Woltersum II Rearing laying hens 50,000 H5N1 24 Feb 2022
Uithuizen Turkeys 10,000 H5N1 20 Feb 2022
Putten Laying hens 77,000 H5N1 16 Feb 2022
Woltersum I Laying hens 53,000 H5N1 14 Feb 2022
Eefde Laying hens 6,000 H5N1 8 Feb 2022
Hierden II Ducks 53,000 H5N1 4 Feb 2022
Hierden I Ducks 15,000 H5N1 3 Feb 2022
Zeewolde IV Chickens 15,000 H5N1 2 Feb 2022
Vuren Laying hens 168,000 H5N1 1 Feb 2022
Biddinghuizen Meat ducks 9,700 H5N1 30 Jan 2022
Ede Breeding ducks 3,000 H5N1 25 Jan 2022
Willemstad Broilers 46,000 H5N1 24 Jan 2022
Grootschermer II Broilers 170,000 H5N1 24 Jan 2022
Lelystad Laying hens 24,000 H5N1 22 Jan 2022
Bentelo Laying Hens 189,000 H5N1 4 Jan 2022
Blija Broilers 222,000 H5N1 3 Jan 2022
Ysselsteyn Turkeys 64,000 H5N1 21 Dec 2021
Den Ham Broilers 80,000 H5N1 17 Dec 2021
Vinkeveen Laying hens 10,000 H5N1 21 Nov 2021
Tzum Broilers 122,500 H5N1 14 Nov 2021
Lutjegast Laying hens 48,000 H5N1 8 Nov 2021
Zeewolde III Meat ducks 21,000 H5N1 5 Nov 2021
Zeewolde II Meat ducks 10,000 H5N1 4 Nov 2021
Grootschermer I Broilers 107,000 H5N1 30 Oct 2021
Zeewolde I Laying hens 36,000 H5N1 26 Oct 2021

* Total amount of culled animals at locations Lunteren IV and V: 280,000

Highly pathogenic bird flu at large hobby farms

Location Type of farm Number of animals Type Date
Boskoop Small-scale farm 300 under investigation 19 May 2022
Lunteren II Small-scale farm 100 H5N1 18 March 2022
Scharnegoutum Small-scale farm 90 H5N1 25 Feb 2022
Hierden III Small-scale farm 250 H5N1 8 Feb 2022
Nieuwerbrug Small-scale farm 220 H5N1 14 Jan 2022
Parrega Private owner 200 H5N1 3 Nov 2021
Assendelft Small-scale farm 190 H5N1 1 Nov 2021

Very high risk of infections at poultry farms

The Rapid Risk Assesment (in Dutch) of November 2021 by WBVR indicates a very high risk for HPAI bird flu infections at commercial poultry farms in the Netherlands.

Housing requirement for poultry in the Netherlands

As a result of the first outbreak in Zeewolde on 26 October 2021, a housing obligation was set in place by the government for all commercial poultry farms in the Netherlands. Zoos, petting zoos and hobby farmers are required to fence off their poultry and waterfowl to prevent contact between these birds and diseased wild birds or their droppings. A nationwide ban applies to exhibiting poultry and waterfowl and visits to bird accommodation where at-risk birds are kept.

April 2022: Possible bird flu spread between farms

Research by WBVR indicates that after introduction by wild birds, bird flu may have spread between farms in the province of Gelderland in April 2022. It is likely that two farms were infected by wild birds, after which the virus spread to farms in their vicinity.

October 2021: Virus introduction by migratory birds

WBVR has analysed the HPAI H5N1 viruses found at the first three infected Dutch farms this season. The virus is a newly introduced one, probably brought to the Netherlands by migratory birds. The viruses currently present in the Netherlands are not related to the Asian H5N1 strains that can infect humans.

Further reading on the genetic analysis

WBVR has performed whole genome sequencing of the HPAI H5N1 viruses found at the first three commercial poultry farms that were infected since October 2021. This analysis has revealed a different genetic composition to the HPAI H5N1 viruses found in the Netherlands earlier in 2021, even as recently as the summer. The latest HPAI H5N1 viruses found in the Netherlands feature new PB2, PA and NP gene segments. A virus with the same genetic composition was identified in late September 2021 in Saratov, Russia. The analysis indicates that the virus is new to the Netherlands and that it was probably introduced by migratory birds.

Genetic analysis of these HPAI H5N1 viruses has revealed that they belong to H5 clade 2.3.4.4b. The viruses are therefore related to HPAI H5 viruses that have caused previous outbreaks, starting from 2016.

The H5N1 viruses currently present in the Netherlands are therefore not related to the zoonotic Asian H5N1 strains that can infect humans. There is a low risk of the new H5N1 viruses infecting humans, according to an assessment by the Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). However, people are still advised to avoid contact with any dead birds, wild or captive.

This page was last updated on 3 May