POULTRY farmers in the Netherlands have been ordered to house free-range birds after a single case of highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza was confirmed on a poultry farm in the country.

It is just three months since the government fully relaxed a poultry housing order that was in place for more than eight months over last winter and into July.

See also: H5N1 avian influenza – what is the current outlook for this winter in the UK?

The virus was detected on an organic laying hen farm housing 36,000 birds in late October. There are three poultry farms within 3km of the infected premises and nine within 10km.

Dutch agriculture minister Carola Schouten said the outbreak and increasing findings of dead birds in the north of the Netherlands prompted the housing order.

It came into force at noon on 26 October.

Poultry trade association Avined said it supported the initial housing order but hoped to transition to a more regional approach to confinement more quickly.