Chicken sampling around Haarzuilens and Oosterbeek

Young woman holding a chicken on her lap

In 2020, West Nile Virus (WNV) was detected in birds, mosquitoes and humans in two regions in the Netherlands. To investigate the spread of WNV in these areas, we sampled chickens at petting zoos and in backyards within a 15 kilometer radius from the detection locations. During the first two weeks of March, Nnomzie Atama and Kiki Streng (with the help of Tijs van den Berg, Maarten Schrama and PhD candidates Jurrian ​van Irsel, Rody Blom, Mariken de Wit and Marianne Rijtma) sampled a total of around 200 chickens at 27 locations in a 15km radius around Haarzuilens and 13 locations in a 15km radius around Oosterbeek.

All chickens, except the ‘feather legged’ ones, were ringed. We took oral and cloacal swabs, blood samples, feathers and​, in some cases​, even eggs. Samples will be tested at Erasmus MC​, and after analyzing these samples, we will discuss whether to repeat the sampling effort during or after summer.

A lot of very kind petting zoo volunteers, colleagues, neighbors and family members were very helpful with catching chickens and making sure we were taken care of by serving tea or coffee. Thanks to everyone who helped out! – Written by Kiki Streng

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One Health PACT with project number 109986 is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).