The European Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health met last week to discuss again the avian influenza situation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
It was decided that the existing restrictive measures adopted in the Netherlands to prevent the spread of the disease will be extended until 30 May 2003.
Some 252 outbreaks of avian influenza have been confirmed in the Netherlands to date, and another six holdings are suspected to be contaminated. Approximately 28 million birds have been culled.
The last outbreak in a commercial poultry farm dates from 29 April 2003.
In Belgium, the restrictive measures will be limited to the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg, from 27 May onwards.
Eight outbreaks have been confirmed in Belgium since 16 April. However, the last outbreak dates from 28 April and no new suspicions have been raised since.
The poultry holdings in the established buffer zones have been depopulated and restocking will only start after a waiting period. In total, about 3 million birds have been culled, and the Commission now believes that the disease has been successfully eradicated.
And in Germany, the measures adopted by the European Commission have been confirmed and extended until 30 May.
The transport of poultry for immediate slaughter and day-old chicks for breeding originating from an establishment situated east of the Rhine in North Rhine-Westphalia to other parts of Germany can now only be authorised under strict conditions.
The situation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany will be reviewed at the next meeting of the standing committee on the food chain and animal health, scheduled for 28 May 2003.