Comparison of the Clinical Manifestation of HPAI H5Nx in Different Poultry Types in the Netherlands, 2014–2022

Wendy J. Wolters, J.C.M. Vernooij, Thomas M. Spliethof, Jeanine Wiegel, Armin R.W. Elbers, Marcel A.H. Spierenburg, Arjan Stegeman, Francisca C. Velkers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study describes clinical manifestations of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1, H5N8 and H5N6 outbreaks between 2014 and 2018 and 2020 and 2022 in the Netherlands for different poultry types and age groups. Adult duck (breeder) farms and juvenile chicken (broiler and laying pullet) farms were not diagnosed before 2020. Outbreaks in ducks decreased in 2020–2022 vs. 2014–2018, but increased for meat-type poultry. Neurological, locomotor and reproductive tract signs were often observed in ducks, whereas laying- and meat-type poultry more often showed mucosal membrane and skin signs, including cyanosis and hemorrhagic conjunctiva. Juveniles (chickens and ducks) showed neurological and locomotor signs more often than adults. Diarrhea occurred more often in adult chickens and juvenile ducks. Mortality increased exponentially within four days before notification in chickens and ducks, with a more fluctuating trend in ducks and meat-type poultry than in layers. For ducks, a mortality ratio (MR) > 3, compared to the average mortality of the previous week, was reached less often than in chickens. A lower percentage of laying flocks with MR > 3 was found for 2020–2022 vs. 2014–2018, but without significant differences in clinical signs. This study provides a basis for improvements in mortality- and clinical-sign-based early warning criteria, especially for juvenile chickens and ducks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number280
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • clinical signs
  • disease outbreaks
  • highly pathogenic avian influenza
  • host factors
  • influenza subtypes
  • mortality
  • poultry


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