Everyone who keeps poultry must keep their animals caged up from Monday 15 November, as bird flu (H5N1) was discovered in a wild goose in the municipality of Schilde in Antwerp, announced the Federal Food Agency (FAVV) on Friday.
It concerns a highly pathogenic variant of bird flu, reports the agency. This indicates that there is again a lot of bird flu virus circulating in wild birds.
“I want to protect the poultry of professional and hobby farmers as much as possible. That is why we decided together with the FAVV to anticipate the potential threat to our country,” said Federal Minister of Agriculture David Clarinval in a press release.
From Monday, the following preventive measures against the bird flu virus will become effective:
- Professional and hobby poultry, except ratites, shall be confined or protected with nets to avoid any contact with wild birds,
- all poultry and birds must be fed and watered indoors (or under nets),
- poultry and birds must not be watered with rainwater or surface water to which wild birds have access.
“By switching to a period of increased risk and by applying the necessary biosecurity measures, we want to prevent this disease from infecting our poultry and prevent the damage that the sector has already suffered in the past,” he added.
The FAVV asks all poultry farmers, hobby farmers and other players involved to strictly apply the measures and to pay sufficient attention to preventing the introduction of avian influenza into their animals through (contact with) wild birds.
When farmers notice increased mortality, or any other symptom of illness, the agency stress that it is important to contact a veterinarian immediately.