Netherlands orders poultry farms to keep birds indoors, as 2 cases of bird flu emerge

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Poultry farms in the Netherlands have been ordered to keep all birds indoors after two cases of bird flu were confirmed in the central Dutch province of Utrecht.

According to The Associated Press, health officials tested six swans which were recently found dead. Tests on two of them came back positive for H5N8, a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu.

Experts believe that the strain of the flu likely arrived in the Netherlands in birds migrating from Russia and Kazakhstan because the same strain circulated there over the summer.

Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said in a statement that the order, which is intended to prevent the spread of the virus, is set to take effect at midnight Thursday.

Although the disease is highly contagious — and potentially deadly — for birds, risks of transmission among humans are considered low, according to EU health and food agencies.

But according to Reuters, it has occurred in the past.

In Feb. 2018, 36,000 birds were destroyed after a variant of H5 was found in a farm in the northeast province of Groningen, DutchNews.nl reported at the time.

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