The government will step up monitoring of migratory birds after Hong Kong confirmed the presence of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in a dead chicken and two wild birds, a Council of Agriculture (COA) official said yesterday.
“We have not imported any poultry or livestock products from Hong Kong, but we will take precautionary measures out of concern for public health,” said Huang Kuo-ching (黃國青), deputy director of the Bureau of Plant and Animal Health Inspection and Quarantine.
However, because of the higher-than-average temperatures this winter, migratory bird arrivals have been fewer than normal, he said.
“Records show that the period from December to April the following year is the peak season for the arrival of migratory birds,” Huang said.
“In the past, we used to collect 3,000 to 4,000 samples of bird feces during the period annually for virus testing,” he said.
The bureau has decided to collect at least 4,000 avian fecal samples by the end of April, he said.
The bureau will also instruct city and county animal health offices to step up their monitoring and testing of fecal samples of birds.