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Russia bans Dutch poultry, owls probably not infected with H5N1

Russia has imposed an ban on poultry imports from the Netherlands following an outbreak earlier this month of a mild form of the H7N7 strain of bird flu.

The ban applies to living poultry, incubated eggs, chicken meat and all other fowl.

On 1 August, the Dutch agriculture ministry said that traces of H7N7 bird flu had been discovered during routine testing at a poultry farm in Voorthuizen in the central Netherlands but that no animals had fallen sick.

As a precautionary measure 25,000 chickens were culled from Voorthuizen and surrounding farms.

In related news, owls found dead at Rotterdam zoo earlier this month were probably not infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu as initially suspected, the Dutch agriculture ministry has said.

The deadly virus was suspected when the birds died on August 12 and tests were carried out. Unlike most of the birds at the zoo in the southern port town, the owls had not been vaccinated against the bird flu.

"Initial test results show that the owls did not die of H5N1," a ministry spokeswoman said on Monday.

Definitive results are expected on Friday and security measures implemented to contain any spread of the virus will only be lifted with the full results are known, she added.

The Dutch Agriculture Ministry has also ordered farmers to keep their poultry indoors from 1 September to protect flocks from the threat of avian flu from migrating birds.

"During the forthcoming migration period, there is a risk that migratory birds can spread bird flu," the ministry said in a statement.

"For this reason all holders of chickens, geese and other birds should keep them indoors."

Alternatively, farmers can construct an enclosure that would make contact with wild birds impossible, it said.

Editor WorldPoultry

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