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Avian influenza was diagnosed in two young foxes in a nature reserve east of Groningen

Bird flu was found in two small foxes living in a nature reserve in eastern Groningen.

It’s possible that foxes contracted the disease by eating infected waterfowl, believes the Dutch Center for Wildlife Health (DWHC), the expert center for diseases in wildlife. DWHC advises dog owners in Friesland and Groningen to keep their animals on a leash in areas where dead birds have also been found.

The first thought was rabies

Young foxes exhibited strange behavior with neurological abnormalities. It was believed that they had contracted the rabies virus. This was examined by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority in the Wageningen University laboratory, but it turned out that the animals did not have rabies.

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Barnacles and birds of prey were also injured

Experts from the DWHC then suggested looking at bird flu, as the fox and some seals have also been infected in Scotland. There was a recent outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza near the Groningen Nature Reserve.

Several barnacles and birds of prey also remain in the two northern provinces, which appear to be infected. Anyone who finds a sick or dead bird should not touch it, but the DWHC or NVWA warns.

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