Three poultry farm workers have tested positive for H5N2 antibodies, but are all healthy and have not developed flu-like symptoms, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday.
The council reminded the public that the H5N2 avian influenza does not infect humans and that last month’s outbreak appeared to be winding down.
After the outbreak, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) began collecting blood samples from 141 workers at poultry farms where the H5N2 virus was found.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Sunday said three men had tested positive for H5N2 antibodies, the first time the agency had found the antibodies in humans.
The three are workers at a poultry farm in Changhua County’s Fangyuan Township (芳苑), which first reported an H5N2 outbreak on Dec. 27 last year, sparking fears that the virus could be transmitted among humans.
However, CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said there was no risk of human-to-human transmission.
The government confirmed the first outbreak of H5N2 avian influenza on March 3 after chicken farms in Changhua and Nantou counties, as well Greater Tainan, reported avian flu outbreaks. More than 75,000 chickens have been culled as a result of the outbreaks.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus held a press conference yesterday morning to ease public concerns, saying the positive test results did not constitute an H5N2 outbreak and that it was safe to eat chicken and eggs.
BAPHIQ Deputy Director-General Huang Kwo-ching (黃國青), who attended the press conference, said the workers that had tested positive were all healthy and did not exhibit any symptoms.
“In previous statements, the WHO has reassured us of the low likelihood of H5N2 avian influenza infecting humans and the virus has only been found in poultry. The public should feel safe eating chicken and eggs as long as they are fully cooked,” Huang said.
He said the bureau had inspected 14,424 chicken farms nationwide and put 476 under active monitoring. There have been no further confirmed cases of H5N2 virus infection, which suggested the outbreak has abated, he said.
Nevertheless, Department of Health (DOH) Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said the three infected poultry workers would remain on a department surveillance list for close monitoring.
DOH Deputy Minister Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) said the trio’s positive results could be linked to the vaccines against the H5N1 bird flu virus they received in the past, or, for two of them, the seasonal flu shots they received.
However, authorities have not ruled out that they might have been infected with the non-symptomatic H5N2 virus.
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
ANTI-COERCION: EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the EU wishes to bolster relations with Taiwan within the framework of its ‘one China’ policy The EU is to further its engagement with Taiwan to defend democracy, freedom and an open market, while bolstering cooperation in semiconductor supply chains, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. In her remarks at a European Parliament plenary session focused on Taiwan-EU relations, Vestager referred to China’s increasing military presence in the Taiwan Strait, including flying missions off the southwest coast of Taiwan. “This display of force may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” she said, adding that the EU encourages all parties to avoid any unilateral actions that might increase tensions across the Strait. “We Europeans
DOWN, NOT OUT: The election was not a total defeat, as Chen still received 73,433 votes against the recall, and his party has ‘grown up’ through the process, he said Voters in Taichung yesterday recalled Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟), making him the first legislator in the nation’s history to lose a recall election. A total of 77,899 votes were cast to recall Chen, while 73,433 voted against, the Taichung City Election Commission said, adding that 51.72 percent of the city’s second electoral district turned out. The Central Election Commission is to confirm the final figures within the next seven days, it said. Commission data showed that there are 294,976 eligible voters in the second district, comprised of Dadu (大肚), Shalu (沙鹿), Longjing (龍井), Wufong (霧峰) and Wurih (烏日) districts. Chen won
MILITARY RESOLVE: Washington does not want a cold war with Beijing, it just wants ‘China to understand that we’re not going to step back,’ Biden told a CNN town hall The US would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the nation China claims as its own, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday, although the White House later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has been facing mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long