Taiwan will report the country’s eighth case of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) after confirming the infection in a chicken sample on Friday, a Council of Agriculture official said.
It was the first H5N2 case in the nation to be discovered at a wholesale poultry market, and the eighth nationwide, said Chang Su-san (張淑賢), director of the council’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.
Five others occurred at poultry farms, while the other two were at slaughterhouses.
The case was confirmed following the government’s efforts since May last year to step up tests at poultry markets, Chang said.
As part of the efforts, a Taipei wholesale poultry market took 100 serum samples, 100 stool specimens and six chicken samples for testing on April 15.
One of the samples tested positive on April 23 for an H5N2 virus subtype, which was confirmed on Friday by the bureau, while other samples tested negative, Chang said.
Chang added that the sample was taken from one of two chickens from a farm in Yunlin County.
About 200,800 chickens had been raised on the farm and their daily death rate was normal, at below 0.1 percent. A daily mortality rate of higher than 0.4 percent is considered abnormal, Chang said.
Meanwhile, a Yunlin County animal quarantine official said that 18,635 chickens from the farm have been sold in phases.
Following confirmation of the case, the bureau has taken measures to prevent the spread of the infection, including carrying out inspections and supervision at poultry farms near the affected Yunlin farm, among other preventative methods.
No virus or abnormality has been found among samples taken from eight farms in the area or during the inspection of 42 farms, according to Chang.
Disinfection has been carried out at the Yunlin site, which will be allowed to resume normal operation only once it is demonstrated to be virus-free, Chang added.
Asked whether the H5N2 virus can infect humans, Chang said the H5N2 subtype is often reported in poultry, but no human infections of the virus have been reported thus far.
Since the council imposed a ban on the slaughter of live fowl in traditional markets in May last year, the task of slaughtering the nation’s chickens has been carried out by 79 slaughterhouses nationwide. Only healthy chickens that have passed a health examination are accepted by the slaughterhouses, Chang said, assuring the public that it is safe to consume chicken.