Prolonged bird flu most notable outbreaks 2021

No people will be infected with bird flu in the Netherlands in 2021

Bird flu (variant H5N1) was the most notable outbreak in 2021. In October of the same year, the Netherlands had to deal with the start of the largest outbreak of bird flu since 2003. This appears from the annual report from the State Zoonoses. by the RIVM and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority (NVWA). Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa.

Before 2021, there were outbreaks of bird flu mainly in winter during the arrival of migratory birds in the Netherlands. As of October 2021, the virus continued to circulate among wild birds and poultry in the Netherlands, and we are now dealing with year-round infections.

In 2021, bird flu virus was found in 263 dead wild birds. Of all the wild birds examined, the highest percentage of birds with bird flu was found in November (44%) and December (57%). It concerned various species of geese, but also other waterfowl and birds of prey.

In 2021, no people will be infected with bird flu in the Netherlands. However, some wild mammals have been infected in the Netherlands, such as foxes.

Less Salmonella and Campylobacter
Some zoonoses were less common in 2021 than in the years before the corona epidemic. For example, there were far fewer reports of people infected with the bacteria Salmonella or Campylobacter. Measures will also be taken in 2021 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as the temporary closure of catering, fewer trips abroad and more attention to hand hygiene. Presumably these measures have also contributed to fewer cases of some zoonoses.

Pandemic preparedness
The Norwegian State for Zoonoses deals with a theme each year. This year it’s pandemic preparedness: being prepared for outbreaks of infectious diseases. The government and scientists are taking various initiatives to reduce the risk of a zoonotic outbreak, for example by improving outbreak scenarios. It also describes how outbreaks of zoonoses can be detected more quickly in the future. For example, some pathogens can be detected early via sewage.

About the state of zoonoses
Every year, the RIVM compiles an overview of the most important zoonoses in the Netherlands. These are primarily zoonoses, which doctors must report to GGD (Communal Health Service) or veterinarians to NVWA (Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety).

The overview describes how often these zoonoses occur in the Netherlands. Policymakers and professionals, such as from governments or GGDs, can use this information to take action if necessary.

The state of zoonoses will be published on a website for the first time this year and no longer as a report.

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Prolonged Avian Influenza Most Notable 2021 Outbreaks in Zoonoses State
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