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Netherlands: 2022 H5N1 in wild mammals

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  • Netherlands: 2022 H5N1 in wild mammals

    In Zuid-Holland is een bunzing aangetroffen met de zeer ziekmakende vogelgriepvariant H5N1. Elders in Nederland blijken ook vossen besmet te zijn met het virus, zo blijkt uit onderzoek van het Dutch Wildlife Health Centre, de Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit en Wageningen Bioveterinary Research.

    Polecat and foxes infected with bird flu
    Dutch Wildlife Health Center (DWHC) , Vogelklas Karel Schot , WBVR , Mammal Society
    20-JAN-2022 - A polecat has been found in South Holland with the very sickening bird flu variant H5N1. Elsewhere in the Netherlands, foxes also appear to be infected with the virus, according to research by the Dutch Wildlife Health Centre, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and Wageningen Bioveterinary Research.

    On January 8, 2022, a polecat ( Mustela putorius ) was found near Dirklandse Sas on the South Holland island of Goeree-Overflakkee that was behaving very strangely. The animal turned its head uncontrollably and was completely disoriented. Such behavior often points to a nervous system disorder. The polecat was taken by animal ambulance to Vogelklas Karel Schot in Rotterdam, a shelter for wild birds and mammals. Since the symptoms were very severe, it was decided there to euthanize the animal after 24 hours and to spare her further suffering. Such neurological symptoms also occur in waterfowl that are sick with bird flu. It was therefore decided to have the dead polecat tested in the lab of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR)...

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      Bird flu virus in foxes adapted to mammals
      Posted: 25/07/2022

      Recently, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research identified bird flu infections in three wild foxes in the Netherlands. The animals showed neurological signs caused by avian influenza of the virus type H5N1. Further analysis now shows that the virus in foxes has adapted to mammals. Moreover, it is remarkable that the virus was mainly present in the brain, while it is a respiratory virus.

      Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the type H5N1 currently cause a high mortality rate among wild birds in the Netherlands. Genetic analysis showed that the viruses in foxes resemble those found in wild birds. The foxes are probably infected by eating wild birds with bird flu. The study also found that the virus may have entered the brain through the olfactory nerve.

      Two viruses isolated from the foxes contain a mutation associated with mammalian adaptation. The research shows that the mutated virus multiplies better in mammalian cells than in birds, and at the lower body temperature of mammals...