Before introduction of the ban on conventional battery cages in the EU from January 2012, battery cages were still common in the Netherlands. An evaluation of the statistics of the Dutch outbreak (in total 1.134 culling operations – more than 29 million birds) shows that 79.2% of all the infected/suspected farms H7N7 was reintroduced were labor-intensive layers/parent stock farms; 8,7 % were turkey farms.

This demonstrates that especially during depopulation activities, viruses easily transmit to responders, tasked for taking layers out of their cages, transport them through the narrow walkways between the cages to a disposal container placed outside of the house. Although humans are supposed to be less susceptible, they can become carrier of the virus. Only the highest level of biosecurity could prevent the transmission through the humans and materials that have been in direct contact with infected animals and materials.

New strategies are needed to take away the source of infection during response activities. At the FLI Animal Welfare and Disease Control Seminar, organized at September 23, 2015 in Celle, Germany, a group of international experts will give their vision on how the possible contribution of each transmission route could be determined and how a revolutionary new response strategy could be developed, based on the principle of neutralizing transmission routes. Data analysis of the outbreak in Holland will be discussed, with contributions of top scientist who recently published on the Dutch outbreak, like dr. Guus Koch, dr. Marien Gerritzen, and dr. Elbers.

This international – English-language based – seminar is open for animal welfare specialists, veterinary specialists, and emergency response experts. The event takes place on the premises of FLI; starts at 9 AM; and closes at 4 PM, after the general discussion.

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