Dutch kill 190,000 ducks to con­tain bird flu out­break

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Dutch of­fi­cials have culled 190,000 ducks on a cen­tral Nether­lands farm where in­spec­tors have con­firmed the pres­ence of a highly in­fec­tu­ous strain of bird flu, of­fi­cials and lo­cal me­dia said yes­ter­day. The out­break was de­tected at a farm in Bid­dinghuizen, about 70 kilo­me­ters (43 miles) west of Am­s­ter­dam, where about 180,000 ducks were put down to­gether with an­other 10,000 within a one kilo­me­ter ra­dius, the Dutch food and safety watch­dog NVWA said. “There are three other poul­try farms within a three kilo­me­ter ra­dius and they are be­ing mon­i­tored,” the NVWA added in a state­ment.

Au­thor­i­ties have also im­posed a ban on poul­try and poul­try prod­uct trans­port within a 10 kilo­me­ter ra­dius, the state­ment said. Tests in­di­cated that the birds were killed by an H5N8 vari­ant of the dis­ease “which is highly in­fec­tu­ous” for poul­try-killing about 30 per­cent of in­fected birds-but not “very dan­ger­ous to hu­mans”, pub­lic news­caster NOS said. Ear­lier this month the Nether­lands shut­tered pet­ting zoos and banned duck hunt­ing as it stepped up mea­sures to stem a bird flu out­break blamed for killing scores of poul­try and more than a thou­sand wild birds in the coun­try.

In the western port of Rot­ter­dam, a park closed its an­i­mal sec­tion af­ter sev­eral aquatic birds were found to have died from the H5N8 virus. Others still not af­fected have been penned in. And on the banks of Lake Mark­er­meer, close to Am­s­ter­dam, about 1,250 wild birds were found dead ear­lier this month, lo­cal news re­ports said.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 420 peo­ple, mainly in south­east Asia, since first ap­pear­ing in 2003. An­other strain of bird flu, H7N9, has claimed more than 200 lives since emerg­ing in 2013, ac­cord­ing to World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion fig­ures.

Avian flu se­verely hit the Nether­lands in 2003 with health au­thor­i­ties de­stroy­ing some 30 mil­lion birds in an ef­fort to quash an out­break. Around 106 mil­lion chick­ens are raised on Dutch poul­try farms, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Dutch sta­tis­tics.—AFP

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