THE HAGUE (AFP) - More than 36,000 animals have been slaughtered after an outbreak of highly contagious bird flu was detected at a Dutch poultry farm, the agriculture ministry said on Monday (Feb 26).
"An outbreak of a variant of H5 bird flu has been detected in a poultry farm in Oldekerk, Groningen province," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it is "likely a highly pathogenic variant".
To prevent the virus spreading, the ministry ordered an immediate ban on the transportation of poultry, eggs, meat and manure within a ten-kilometre zone around the farm in the north of the country.
The government has ordered poultry farmers to keep their livestock indoors since December, when a bird flu outbreak at another farm led to the slaughter of 16,000 birds.
Dutch poultry farmers, already reeling from a contaminated egg scandal, were also hit by another outbreak in December which saw thousands of hens destroyed.