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Avian flu in the Wadden Sea World Heritage

Thursday 21st January, 2021

Information on the current animal disease situation and the developments of avian influenza viruses in the Wadden Sea World Heritage.

Since the end of October, the Wadden Sea coast from Denmark to the Netherlands has seen a massive outbreak of bird flu. The environmental association WWF even speaks of "unprecedented dimensions".


The impact is monitored differently in all 3 Wadden Sea countries


Since the end of October 2020, an unusually large number of wild birds have died on the West Coast of Schleswig-Holstein. The National Park Wadden Sea Schleswig-Holstein reports on the status of regional bird flu cases on their website.

On the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea coast, the data is collected by a network of volunteers from the NLWKN, Mellumrat, WAU and others, supported by several people working for the National Park Authority “Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer”. Numbers depend on the intensity and area coverage of searching for dead birds. In Lower Saxony, the involved organizations aim for a full coverage of entire coastline at least once a week. Even with this approach, a number of affected birds will be missed. There is an indication that numbers of dead birds are significantly lower in Lower Saxony than in Schleswig-Holstein.

A Germany-wide overview can be found at:




There is no systematic or coordinated investigation for dead birds in Denmark. Dead birds can be reported either by the mobile phone application called “FugleinfluenzaTiP” or via the homepage of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration:

Relevant link on the current situation:



Many of the sick or dead wild birds currently found and tested positive for avian flu are registered in the North and West of the Netherlands. The birds are collected and examined. The NVWA places a weekly update on their website with information on where dead wild birds were found with a proven infection with the virus. Additionally, the WBVR operates an overview map, which can be found here:



Avian influenza refers to a disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. It is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of not only wild birds, but also of birds commercially kept for food production (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) or privately kept as pets. Avian influenza A viruses do not typically infect humans, but cases are still sporadically detected.

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Avian Influenza Portal external


CWSS cannot guarantee the accuracy of this overview and therefore takes no liability for any errors or omissions. Links to third party websites of third parties are offered as a courtesy. CWSS expresses no opinion on the content of the websites of third parties and does not accept any responsibility for third-party information. You should make your own independent inquiries before relying on any information or materials contained on these pages.