About 14,000 broiler ducks at three farms in Pingtung County’s Yanpu (鹽埔) and Kaoshu (高樹) townships were culled on Thursday after it was discovered they were infected with avian influenza, the second confirmed case in Pingtung County within a week.
Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Chang Su-san (張淑賢) said ducks at the three farms were found to have contracted a new strain of the avian influenza H5 subtype virus on Wednesday, and a full culling was conducted at the affected farms on Thursday.
Chang said the three farms are within a 1km radius of a farm in Pingtung’s Sinyuan Township (新園), where 5,780 broiler ducks infected with the H5 subtype virus were culled last Thursday.
She said the ducks culled this week were healthy, but preventive culling was conducted in accordance with epidemic prevention regulations, adding that the bureau instructed farmers to disinfect and clean the animals’ enclosures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Ducks are potential carriers of avian influenza that exhibit few symptoms and low mortality rates when infected.
The bureau said it will now take samples from all farms within a 1km radius of the affected farms.
Any operators that refuse the bureau’s inspection will face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 (US$913 and US$4,569), and those who fail to report any erratic farm animal deaths will face a maximum fine of NT$1 million, Chang said
The Pingtung outbreak is the latest in a series of reported cases since ducks and chickens at farms in Chiayi and Changhau counties were found infected with avian influenza late last month. The total number of ducks and chickens culled this year has exceeded 5 million, the bureau said.
The bureau said a serious outbreak might occur in the autumn, and has called on epidemic prevention officers to thoroughly disinfect affected facilities, as well as vehicles and equipment used for disease control purposes.
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