Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 has been making headlines again in Europe since the end of October 2016. The first reports in the Netherlands were of increased death amongst wild tufted ducks and several other species of waterbirds in the Gouwzee and Wolderwijd. Subsequently, high death rates were observed in Eurasian wigeons in other areas and several poultry farms have been infected.
The majority of reports of bird mortality have come from the provinces of North Holland, South Holland, Friesland, Groningen and Flevoland although there have also been cases in other areas of the country.
HPAI H5N8 has been detected in a range of bird species: mute swan, barnacle goose, greylag goose, tufted duck, wigeon, common pochard, Eurasian teal, great-crested grebe, black-headed gull, common gull, lesser black-backed gull, great black-backed gull, sea eagle, buzzard, Peregrine falcon and magpie. Some of these species, such as the larger gulls, birds of prey and members of the crow family, are believed to become infected through ingestion of infected birds. Given reports of increased mortality in other species of bird this list is expected to grow.
If you want to find out more about the current situation, regulations, geographic distribution or research results regarding bird flu there is information available in English on the Dutch government website.
Report finding dead birds via our online submission form. Should you find more than three dead waterbirds or more than 20 dead birds of another species you are required to inform the Netherlands Food and consumer product safety authority (NVWA) on 045-546 31 88 who will decide how to proceed.
If further investigations are deemed unsuitable please contact your local authority regarding the removal of carcasses from public land. This is an important means of minimizing contamination of the environment and infection of scavengers.