CBSN

Bird flu discovery at Dutch chicken farm raises alarm

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Dutch government has banned the transport of poultry and eggs throughout the country after confirming an outbreak of bird flu at a chicken farm.

The Ministry for Economic Affairs said Sunday the outbreak is deadly to poultry and can also be transmitted to humans. Spokesman Jan van Diepen said the exact strain of bird flu has not yet been established.

All 150,000 chickens at the farm in Hekendorp, 40 miles south of Amsterdam, were being slaughtered. It was not clear how the farm became infected.

As well as halting the movement of poultry, other birds and eggs nationwide for 72 hours, the government is imposing other restrictions, including banning the transport of byproducts such as poultry manure and hay that have been used in poultry farms.

China has been battling a new strain of the deadly bird flu virus -- H7N9. Earlier this year, officials said it killed dozens.

Some studies suggest the new bird flu is jumping directly to people from poultry at live bird markets, including an April 25 study in The Lancet. Cases have slowed down since Chinese authorities began shutting down such markets. But it's unclear exactly what kind of exposure is needed for humans to catch the virus and very few animals have tested positive for it. Unlike the last bird flu strain to cause global concern, H5N1, the new strain doesn't appear to make birds sick and may be spreading silently in poultry populations.