New Taipei City is on high alert after a local slaughterhouse reported H5 avian influenza infections in chickens on three of its nine slaughter lines.
The New Taipei City Domestic Poultry Slaughterhouse on Friday found one chicken on each of the three lines showed symptoms of avian flu infection, such as sporadic redness on the body, swelling around the eyes and hemorrhaging on the feet, the New Taipei City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office said yesterday.
Veterinarians at the slaughterhouse informed the office and the Council of Agriculture of the findings.
An investigation traced the infected poultry to two chicken farms, one in Yunlin County and the other in Taoyuan, the office said. Based on the findings, 40 other suspect chicken carcasses were frozen and sealed, it said.
Local animal quarantine authorities were notified of the need to quarantine the sources, while the three slaughter lines were shut down for sterilization, it added.
Laboratory tests have confirmed that the problematic chickens were infected with the H5 strain, the office said, and as a result, the 40 frozen chickens were destroyed in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.
New Taipei City consumes the most chickens of any of the nation’s municipalities, and the number of chickens slaughtered there reaches 30,000 to 40,000 per day, the office said.
No avian flu outbreaks have been reported in the city, but it is crucial to ensure that the slaughterhouse is completely sterilized and to reinforce safety checks on chickens delivered from around the nation for slaughter before they are sold in markets around the city, the office said.
The World Organization for Animal Health confirmed on July 24 that Taiwan was clear of the H5N6 virus — which can be transmitted from birds to humans — after the nation reported its first confirmed case of the virus in February.
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