In 2014, during the last outbreak of avian influenza in the Netherlands, tens of thousands of chickens were culled to prevent the virus from spreading. There is also the chance that the virus will transform in such a way that it can be transmitted between people, leading to a global flu epidemic.
Researchers at Wageningen deciphered the genetic code of the virus and combined it with big data, masses of information about virus genealogies. In doing so, they quickly ascertained the sources of the avian flu outbreak. This information is vital for effectively fighting the disease, and is one way that Wageningen UR works to improve quality of life.