Bird flu discovered at poultry farm in the Netherlands
The European Commission is set to announce protective measures to contain a “highly contagious” strain of bird flu discovered at a poultry farm in the Netherlands.
The measures will include killing all contaminated animals and the cleaning of their holding areas.
The Dutch government said the strain, H5N8, could potentially affect humans.
Authorities have already begun destroying 150,000 hens at the infected farm, in the village of Hekendorp.
“This highly pathogenic variant of avian influenza is very dangerous for bird life,” the Dutch government said in a statement.
“The disease can be transmitted from animals to humans.”
The Dutch economics ministry says humans can only be infected through very close contact with infected birds.
The authorities have imposed a three-day nationwide ban on the transportation of poultry and eggs.
The farm reportedly sold eggs rather than poultry. Its produce was sold primarily in the Netherlands, with some also exported to Germany.
Earlier this month, a farm in Germany detected cases of H5N8, which had previously not been reported in Europe.
The strain has never been detected in humans, but an outbreak in South Korea meant millions of farm birds had to be slaughtered to contain it.
Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, has several different strains.
Most forms do not infect humans, but the H5N1 and H7N9 strains have caused serious infections in people, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
The majority of those infected had come into close contact with live or dead poultry.
There is no evidence to suggest the H5N1 and H7N9 viruses can be passed to humans through properly prepared poultry or eggs, the WHO says.
The H5N1 strain has a mortality rate of about 60% in humans, and led to 384 deaths between 2003 and December 2013, according to WHO figures.
Common symptoms for bird flu include a high fever and coughing.
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