Authorities in the Netherlands have banned the transport of all poultry throughout the country after bird flu was detected on a farm south of Amsterdam. Officials say this particular strain can be transmitted to humans.
The Netherlands' Ministry for Economic Affairs said on Sunday that while testing was still being conducted to determine the exact strain, it was already clear that this was a form of the virus that could pose a danger to people.
"This highly pathogenic variant of avian influenza is very dangerous for bird life," a government statement said. "The disease can be transmitted from animals to humans."
The virus was first detected at a poultry farm in the village of Hekendorp, 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Amsterdam late on Saturday. The authorities said they were in the process of slaughtering all 150,000 birds at the farm. It wasn't immediately clear how birds at the farm had become infected.
The government has also imposed a 72-hour ban on the transport of all poultry products including eggs, manure and used straw to and from all poultry farms in the country.
According to the Reuters news agency, around 10,000 chickens were put down in March after bird flu was detected at a farm in eastern Holland.
Earlier this month, more than 30,000 turkeys were slaughtered after the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain was found on a farm in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. This was the first time that H5N8 had been detected in Europe. Previously, it had mainly been found in South Korea, where its discovery led to four separate slaughters in which thousands of birds were culled.
pfd/glb (Reuters, AP)