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Volume 23, Number 12—December 2017

Deaths among Wild Birds during Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N8) Virus Outbreak, the Netherlands

Erik Kleyheeg1Comments to Author , Roy Slaterus, Rogier Bodewes, Jolianne M. Rijks, Marcel A.H. Spierenburg, Nancy Beerens, Leon Kelder, Marjolein J. Poen, Jan A. Stegeman, Ron A.M. Fouchier, Thijs Kuiken2, and Henk P. van der Jeugd2
Author affiliations: Dutch Center for Avian Migration and Demography, Wageningen, the Netherlands (E. Kleyheeg, H.P. van der Jeugd); Sovon, Dutch Center for Field Ornithology, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (R. Slaterus); Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands (R. Bodewes, J.A. Stegeman); Dutch Wildlife Health Center, Utrecht (J.M. Rijks); Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, Utrecht (M.A.H. Spierenburg); Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, Lelystad, the Netherlands (N. Beerens); Staatsbosbeheer, Amersfoort, the Netherlands (L. Kelder); Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (M.J. Poen, R.A.M. Fouchier, T. Kuiken)

Main Article


Reported bird species, winter population size estimates, number of carcasses, and rRT-PCR test results per incident during outbreak of HPAI A(H5N8) virus, the Netherlands, November 2016–January 2017*

Avian family and species (common name) Maximum estimated winter population, ×1,000† No. carcasses HPAI incidents tested‡
Anatidae (waterbirds) 7,326 51/134
Anas penelope (Eurasian wigeon) 680–920 2,511 18/18
Aythya fuligula (tufted duck)
Unidentified waterfowl 1,771 23/95
Podicipedidae (grebes) 31 3/5
Ardeidae (herons)§ 165 0/13
Phalacrocoracidae (comorants) 50 1/2
Rallidae (rallids) 279 1/9
Scolopacidae (shorebirds)¶

Laridae (gulls) 698 12/28
Larus marinus (great black-backed gull)
Accipitridae (hawks)

Falconidae (falcons) 23 3/4
Falco peregrinus (peregrine falcon)
Corvidae (corvids) 88 3/10
Aves indet. (unidentified)

Total 13,590 84/255

*Incidents are defined as death reports of a species per site per day. HPAI, highly pathogenic avian influenza; rRT-PCR, real-time reverse transcription PCR.
†Population estimates represent the lowest and highest yearly maxima for the Netherlands during 2009–2014. Data from Sovon (Dutch Center for Field Ornithology, Nijmegen, the Netherlands).
‡Number of positive versus all tested incidents are presented (number positive/number tested), based on infection data from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, Dutch Wildlife Health Center, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, and Erasmus Medical Center.
§H5N8 HPAI virus infection in grey heron (Ardea cinerea) was confirmed elsewhere in Europe (8).
¶Eurasian woodcocks (Scolopax rusticola) are more prone than other species to window collisions during nocturnal migration; thus, their deaths (54 carcasses reported) might not be related to HPAI.

Main Article

1Current affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell am Bodensee, Germany.

2These senior authors contributed equally to this article.

Page created: November 16, 2017
Page updated: November 16, 2017
Page reviewed: November 16, 2017
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