November 30, 2023

A new variant of the H5N1 subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in the Netherlands, according to the Wageningen Bioveterinary Research Institute at Wageningen University on Thursday. The variant was found in Renswoude in the central Netherlands and is similar to other versions of the H5N1 subtype that have been spreading since 2021, with a new version of the PB1 segment of genes in the virus, believed to be a result of the virus mixing with a low pathogenic version of avian influenza. The new variant has been found in several dead wild ducks and geese in the Netherlands since November, but it is still unclear if this has affected any properties of the virus. The discovery comes amid the ongoing global outbreak of avian influenza that has affected millions of birds and thousands of mammals worldwide. In Israel, a new case of H5N1 avian influenza was found in a Marbled teal in Yehud on November 1, the fourth case reported in the country this season. In Canada, the ongoing bird flu outbreak has been described as a “different beast” than previous ones, with widespread mortality affecting wild birds.