Wed, Sep 16, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Yunlin ducks to be culled amid bird flu virus scare

IRREGULAR DEATHS:Farms in Tainan and Chiayi told authorities of ducks dying, prompting tests to be done, with a report on the results of the work expected today

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

About 8,900 broiler ducks at two farms in Yunlin County’s Dounan Township (斗南) are to be culled, while a suspected H5N2 infection was reported at farms in Tainan and Chiayi County on Monday.

Ducks at the Yunlin farms on Monday were found to have contracted a new type of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu virus, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.

The bureau said that it would perform precautionary culls at the farms even though the animals were generally in good health.

The farms are unenclosed facilities within a 1km radius of a previously affected farm, but the ducks to be culled might have been exposed to the virus through interaction with migratory birds, the bureau said.

It is clear that the virus is still active in the areas, the bureau said, adding that would to conduct disinfection operations and take samples from all facilities within a 1km radius of all affected farms.

Operators who refuse inspections face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 (US$915 and US$4,575), while those who fail to report irregular deaths of fowls face a maximum fine of NT$1 million, it said.

Ducks are a carrier of the virus, but show few symptoms and have a low mortality rate, the bureau said, adding that while the native H5N2 viruses only infects chickens, not waterfowl, the new H5N2 viruses are more powerful strains that can infect geese and ducks.

Separately, a farm in Tainan with about 1,800 geese and a farm in Chiayi with about 1,200 broiler ducks reported irregular deaths of hundreds of fowl to authorities on Monday, with tests done and the results given to the bureau for examination.

A report on the results is expected today.

As of Monday, the Council of Agriculture had tested samples from 986 farms nationwide and confirmed bird flu infection at 953 farms, culling animals at all 953 facilities, the bureau said.

To control the spread of avian influenza, in June the council announced that affected farms could resume poultry operations only after the facility is renovated to an enclosed or non-open structure, with the rules to take effect next year.

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