A highly contagious bird flu strain has been found at a poultry farm located in the central region of Netherlands and the Dutch authorities have decided to destroy 150,00 chickens to minimize the consequences.
The strain, known as H5N8, has never been found in the humans. However, an outbreak in South Korea caused the slaughter of millions of farm birds.
“It’s a highly pathogenic strain for birds. For people it’s not that dangerous: you’d only get it if you were in very close contact with the birds,” said Jan van Diepen, spokesperson at the Dutch Economics Ministry.
Its cases were also being reported from Asian countries like China and Japan. The bird flu strain was first reported in Europe over a German farm in early November.
The Netherlands, the leading egg exporter in the world, had imposed a ban for 72-hour on the transportation of poultry products such as eggs, birds, used straw and dung at the poultry farms nationwide.
Sources said in order to contain the outbreak, the European Commission is expected to come up with urgent interim protective measures by Monday. These protective initiatives are likely to include a ban on poultry products sale from the affected and vulnerable regions to EU and third world countries.
Meanwhile, the agricultural inspectors have started destruction of 150,000 chickens at the farm located at Hekendorp village and also banned the transport of poultry products across the whole of the Netherlands.
Another spokesman from the ministry said that the farm at Hekendorp mainly sold eggs than poultry.
The H5N8 bird flu strain was first reported in Germany on November 4 this year at a farm in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern following a widespread destruction by the strain in Asia.
Piet Wiltenburg, farm’s owner, said that the major share of the farm produce was sold in the Netherlands, with some produce also exported to Germany.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with that produce,” Wiltenburg said.
A World Organisation for Animal Health report has shown that the country has never seen the cases related to the highly contagious H5 or H7 bird flu strains in the past 10 years.
The Dutch poultry farms export over six billion eggs worlwide every year. But it is still unclear that how many of the 697 farm produces are also exporters. The Netherlands is also one of the leading exporters of poultry products.