A WHO official said on Thursday that there have been no confirmed cases of H5N2 avian influenza affecting humans and the possibility of the virus seriously affecting human health in a way similar to the more virulent H5N1 was low.
Gregory Hartl, spokesperson for the WHO’s Global Alert and Response Network, told the Central News Agency that H5N2 is one of many avian flu viruses and that it is unpredictable, but so far there have been no confirmed cases of humans contracting the H5N2 virus.
It is possible that there might be incidents of the H5N2 virus existing undetected in humans and the virus might affect humans in the future, but the present risk to humans was low, he said.
Photo: Wang Han-ping, Taipei Times
The official made the remarks after Taipei alerted the World Organization for Animal Health on March 3 that a highly pathogenic H5N2 strain had been detected and resulted in a recent outbreak.
According to Department of Health Deputy Minister Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延), blood samples from nine workers at a poultry farm in Changhua County were tested, but the H5N2 virus was not detected.
In Greater Tainan, where about 4,000 chickens were culled last month after the H5N2 virus found at a farm was confirmed to be highly pathogenic, 38 workers have had blood samples taken, Lin said, adding that the test results had not come back yet.
He said H5N2 is a commonly found virus among birds and the “highly pathogenic” tag refers to the high infection rate among birds affected by the virus, not its possible effect on humans.
He added that no global medical data showed that H5N2 had infected humans.
He called for Taiwanese not to panic over the latest H5N2 outbreak, suggesting that chicken and eggs be fully cooked before being consumed.
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin