Dutch poultry can roam outside again
The Dutch Agriculture Ministry has lifted the
order that kept domestic poultry from moving outdoors, as fears over an outbreak
of bird flu eased. Among their immediate neighbours, only the Netherlands and
Belgium were spared confirmed cases of wild birds infected with the H5N1 strain.
Germany, Britain, Denmark and France, all reported
More than 13,000 dead wild birds have been tested in the
Netherlands since February, and none have showed signs of H5N1, ministry
spokeswoman Nynke van der Zee said.
The Dutch ruffled feathers in
Brussels in August 2005, by acting first to order all commercial birds indoors
without waiting for European guidelines. The European Union Commission said then
that the move was an "overreaction," but later ordered similar
The Dutch nervousness was caused in part by a recent memory
of another kind of bird flu: in a major outbreak of the H7N7 strain in 2003,
more than 30 million Dutch birds were culled, 89 humans were infected and one
Virologist Ab Osterhaus, who advised the Dutch
government on precautionary measures, told Dutch NOS television the relief may
not last long.
"I think that we'll have the same problem again in
July or August," he said. "We can't predict it exactly, but this is a problem
that we're going to have to very much hold reckoning with in the coming
Switzerland also lifted its indoor
order Monday. Germany has said it will keep its birds indoors until at least May
12. The first infection of commercial stocks was found on a French turkey farm in February, and
France is lifting quarantines on farms in the stricken Ain region on a
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.