November 30, 2014 / 10:36 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Dutch poultry industry hit by new bird flu outbreak

(Adds details, context)

AMSTERDAM, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Bird flu was found at a fourth poultry farm in the Netherlands, officials said, in a fresh blow for the Dutch agricultural export sector.

The latest infestation was found at a poultry farm in the western municipality of Zoeterwoude, not far from the sites of previous outbreaks. The farm’s 28,000 laying hens were ordered destroyed.

Officials and experts have previously warned that the density of farms in the country makes it easier for infections to hop from one farm to the next.

A ban was imposed on transporting poultry products within a 10 km radius and officials ordered that the four other poultry farms within the area be inspected for bird flu.

The bird flu was of the same H5 variant that has been found in a string of outbreaks across Europe and Asia over the past two months, but it was not yet clear whether it was a highly infectious strain or not.

Officials also said that a separate inspection of all the duck farms in the country had found no H5 variety bird flu.

Under measures imposed last week to contain the spread of bird flu in the EU’s leading exporter of poultry meat, export remains possible, but many non-EU countries have banned the import of Dutch poultry meat as a result of the outbreaks.

Three-day national transportation bans imposed after previous outbreaks had cost the industry up to 100 million euros, industry groups said.

About 2,000 Dutch businesses, with more than 100 million chickens, export more than 6 billion eggs a year. (Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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