Bird flu discovered in Zoeterwoude

Geese protected from escape
Geese shielded and penned in. 3 March 2006Newbie / Wikimedia Commons

Bird flu was discovered at a poultry farm in Zoeterwoude yesterday. The Ministry of Economic Affairs confirmed that this company has about 28 thousand animals.

All animals were culled yesterday. The culling was done based on European rules and implemented by the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority  (NVWA). The variant of avian influenza on this farm will be determined by further investigation. A 10 kilometer perimeter has been set up around the infected farm and all other companies in the perimeter will be examined for bird flu.

Three other farms in the Netherlands had been infected with bird flu since mid-November. This involves farms in Hekendorp, Ter Aar and Kamperveen. All the ducks at a farm in Barneveld were also culled as a precaution, but the NVWA later confirmed that those ducks were not infected with avian influenza. The company in Zoeterwoude is located more than 20 kilometers from Ter Aar.

The new outbreak of bird flu is a severe setback for all companies with poultry in the Netherlands, said Eric Huber, chairman of LTO Pluimveehouderij (Poultry farming), to news agency Novum. "The blow is all the harder because we thought we were on the verge of easing measures."

State Secretary Dijksma of Economic Affairs also calls this new outbreak a "hefty setback". Yesterday on the television program Buitenhof, she said that a new corridor from the south to the west is on the way, to relieve the crowded stalls in the south. Chicks and chickens will be transported from the stalls trough that corridor to the west, where they can be slaughtered.

Last week Dijksma put in motion the preparations for trapping and testing swans, geese and gulls for avian influenza. This is to find clarity on the roll of wild birds in the spreading of bird flu. A prevention plan has also been put into effect to stop the spreading of this disease.