‘HUNDREDS’ of dead birds are washing ashore on the coast of the north-western Netherlands, according to local media.

A report by Dutch broadcaster RTV Noord says that geese, gulls and birds of prey are affected by the outbreak in particular, centred on the Wadden Sea – a wetland area.  

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It demonstrates that avian influenza is still present across the northern coast of continental Europe.

In early April, the Dutch government extended its housing order primarily because of the rates of infection remaining high in wild birds.

Defra’s latest situation assessment for avian influenza says that wild bird findings continue to decline steeply in Europe. However, there is still some spread from sedentary bird species such as raptors and mute swans.

The assessment, published on 16 April, adds that there were 50 reports of bird flu in Germany between 1 and 12 April, less than half of the 121 cases recorded in the country in the previous 10-day period.

UK situation

In the UK, there have been far fewer detections. Defra’s latest report says that last week six pheasants in Staffordshire and a rook in Fife, Scotland, tested positive.

Before that, there had been no cases found in wild birds for more than a month.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments will now allow gatherings of live poultry such as shows and markets. Pigeon racing can also return in a limited way.

An Avian Influenza Protection Zone, which makes high biosecurity a legal requirement, remains in place. It is understood this is currently under review.