Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in waterfowl and poultry are a growing problem in Western Europe and large parts of the world. The currently prevaling theory is that migrating waterfowl play a key role in the continental spread and regional dynamics of the virus. At the Netherlands Institute of Ecology I have been involved in the monitoring of HPAI in wild waterfowl during the outbreaks of 2014-2015 and 2016-2017.


Research description

My main duties were co-ordination of intensified monitoring of HPAI in wild waterfowl commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and keeping track of the extent of the HPAI outbreak in wild bird populations.



My research had contributed to a number of scientific publications and media appearences.


Common Pochard, H5N8 victim at Gouwzee 01-12-2016 (© Erik Kleyheeg)


Publications in the avian influenza project

  • Poen M.J., Verhagen J.H., Manvell R.J., Brown I., Bestebroer T.M., van der Vliet S., Vuong O., Scheuer R.D., van der Jeugd H.P., Nolet B.A., Kleyheeg E., Muskens G.J.D.M., Majoor F.A., Grund C. & Fouchier R.A.M. (2016) Lack of virological and serological evidence for continued circulation of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 virus in wild birds in the Netherlands, 14 November 2014 to 31 January 2016. Eurosurveillance, 21:38 (pdf)
  • Van Dijk J.G.B., Kleyheeg E., Soons M.B., Nolet B.A., Fouchier R.A.M. & Klaassen M. (2015) Weak negative associations between avian influenza virus infection and movement behaviour in a key host species, the mallard Anas platyrhynchos. Oikos, 124:1293-1303 (pdf)