Sat, Jan 24, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Six more chicken farms hit by avian flu outbreak

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The number of poultry culled nationwide as avian influenza outbreaks escalate has surged past 1 million, while two more teams of extermination workers are to be dispatched to Yunlin, where the situation is the most severe, putting the total number of exterminators at more than 400, the Council of Agriculture said.

Meanwhile, six more chicken farms were confirmed to be hit by a highly pathogenic H5 subtype yesterday, raising the tally to 14.

The newly confirmed facilities include three organic chicken farms in Changhua County, two in Pingtung County and one in Greater Kaohsiung.

Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Chang Su-san (張淑賢) yesterday said that in addition to disinfection processes carried out at farms, all vehicles carrying poultry, eggs and feed from the five municipalities hit hardest by the outbreaks — Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Greater Tainan and Pingtung — would also undergo disinfection.

Checkpoints would be set up along all major roads connecting the areas with other municipalities, she said. Items to be disinfected include the driver’s and passengers’ shoes, tires and mats.

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said the council yesterday afternoon allocated subsidies totaling NT$110 million (US$3.5 million) to cover disease control operations expenditures, of which NT$43 million went to Yunlin; NT$18 million to Chiayi, where 38 goose farms have been hit; NT$15 million to Pingtung; NT$15 million to Greater Tainan; and NT$10 million to Changhua.

He said the council has dispensed 18,190 hazmat suits, 17,040 masks and 10,000 pairs of gloves to extermination workers since Tuesday last week.

Chen also denied media reports that there have been shortages in resources, saying that apart from the council’s aid, resources have been pooled from the private sector and that the Animal and Plant Disease Control Center has a stockpile of equipment.

He urged the media not to disseminate misleading information, saying: “It does not do the current circumstances any good.”

Asked if there were any weaknesses in the council’s disease control measures, Chen said it was farmers irresponsibly disposing of bird carcasses in Yunlin and Chiayi last week.

“The only weakness is farmers discarding dead poultry, because it could exacerbate the spread of avian flu,” he said.

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