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Dutch authorities to cull poultry after avian influenza outbreak

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Health authorities will cull 11,000 chickens at a farm in the Netherlands after an outbreak of a mild form of avian influenza, the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry said on Saturday.

The chickens were believed to have the low pathogenic H7 strain, the ministry said in a statement. They would be culled as a precaution because the strain can mutate into a form that is fatal for poultry.

Authorities imposed a one-kilometer safety perimeter around the farm banning transports of poultry, eggs and other farm products. Testing would also be carried at 11 other farms in the area, it said.

In recent years several cases of the low pathogenic bird flu strain have been reported in the Netherlands.

The most devastating outbreak of H7N7 avian flu in the country was in 2003 and led to the culling of 30 million birds, about a third of the nation's poultry flock.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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