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There is an official serological/molecular monitoring programme, approved by the European Commission in the framework of Council Directive 158/2009/EC, for the detection of Mycoplasma Gallisepticum in chicken breeders and layers intended for export and breeder turkeys and of Mycoplasma Meleagridis in breeder turkeys. Samples are taken 2 weeks before movement to the laying unit, at 22 weeks (chickens) and 34 weeks (turkeys) and then every 12 weeks. When Mycoplasma is detected, all trade of hatching eggs is blocked. Further information on the epidemiological status is available on the OIE WAHIS interface.
Newcastle disease is an official notifiable disease. Belgium was officially free from NCD from 1993 until April 2018 when 3 outbreaks of NCD were detected in professional poultry farms. 17 other cases were also detected in flocks of hobby poultry. In all these cases, a new virus strain of NCD was identified. This strain was already present in Southeast Asia and had spread rapidly to the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe. Three months after the health measures were lifted in the last outbreak, a self-declaration was submitted to the OIE and Belgium regained its officially free status on 19 October 2018.
Control measures in Belgium
Vaccination has been mandatory since 1993:
- in every poultry holding of more than 100 heads;
- in poultry participating in gathering events such as exhibitions, markets, etc.;
- in pigeons participating in contests.
Since 1 August 2018, vaccination is also mandatory for hobby poultry traded between traders and private individuals or participating in gatherings.
Measures to be taken in the event of a Newcastle disease outbreak in Belgium
The specific control measures to be applied in case of a Newcastle disease outbreak:
- Determination of a control zone (protection zone: 3 km; surveillance zone: 10 km) and movement ban (« standstill ») of minimum 72 hours within this zone, for animals, products of animal origin, vehicles, people.
- All animal holdings must be registered and a census of all animals and animal products kept in the susceptible animals holdings within the zone must be carried out.
- Biosecurity measures and a disinfection point at the entry/exit of the farm.
- An epidemiological investigation is carried out: source, spread, timeline.
- Tracing of animals/products of animal origin from the infected holding, in order to destroy them.
- The measures in the protection zone must be applied for at least 21 days, and the measures in the surveillance zone must be applied for at least 30 days after the cleansing and disinfection of the outbreak holding.
Newcastle disease is a notifiable disease in the European Union. All measures laid down in Council Directive 92/66/EEC apply.
Newcastle disease must also be notified to the OIE by all OIE Member Countries.
In Belgium, the cascade of notification is the following: farmer -> veterinarian -> control unit of the FASFC -> central administration of the FASFC -> implementation of the national contingency plan for the control of Newcastle disease.
All legal requirements are laid down in the Ministerial Decree of 24 July 2018 laying down emergency measures to combat Newcastle disease, the Royal Decree of 28 November 1994 on the control of Newcastle disease, the Ministerial Decree of 25 January 1993 regulating vaccination against Newcastle disease and the Ministerial Decree of 4 May 1992 on temporary measures to combat Newcastle disease.
More information on Newcastle disease can be found in the technical disease card on the OIE-website.
There is an official serological/bacteriological monitoring programme, approved by the European Commission in the framework of Council Directive 158/2009/EC, for the detection of Salmonella Pullorum, Salmonella Gallinarum and S. Arizonae in breeders and layer chickens intended for intra community trade. All flocks of breeders and layer chickens intended for intra community trade are monitored at the age of 22 weeks (Gallus gallus) or 34 weeks (turkeys). When Salmonella Gallinarum or Pullorum or Salmonella Arizonae is detected, all trade of hatching eggs is blocked.
Further information on the epidemiological status is available on the OIE WAHIS interface.