Chickens at two slaughterhouses in Taipei and New Taipei City were confirmed to be infected with the H5N8 avian influenza virus, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.
As of yesterday, 40 chickens at a slaughterhouse in New Taipei City’s Taishan District (泰山) and 24 chickens at a facility in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) have been culled, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Deputy Director-General Shih Tai-hua (施泰華) said.
The infected chickens came from poultry farms in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪) and Yunlin County’s Shueilin Township (水林), he said.
After receiving veterinarian reports on Friday, the bureau had prohibited the two farms from transporting any chickens.
More avian flu infections — mainly the H5N2 and H5N8 strains — than normal were reported this summer, which should have been a dormant season for the viruses, Shih said.
China, Vietnam and the Philippines also reported more bird flu infections this summer, he said, denying media reports that the viruses have adapted to the nation’s warmer weather.
“We have been analyzing the viruses every season, but have not observed any sign of evolution,” Shih said.
The risk of humans becoming infected with H5N8 “cannot be excluded, although the likelihood is low,” according to the WHO.
The nation’s chicken farmers had a difficult year, as they have faced successive blows from an H5N6 outbreak during the first four months, dioxin-polluted eggs in late April, fipronil-tainted eggs late last month and bird flu infections.
As of 6pm yesterday, eggs were sold at an average of NT$20.5 per 600g, much cheaper than the NT$29 they sold for before the fipronil scare erupted on Aug. 20.
“With schools starting, the demand for eggs is on the rise, as is their price,” Department of Animal Industry Deputy Director Wang Chung-shu (王忠恕) said, declining requests to predict the price.
However, chicken and egg supplies are still sufficient given that the fipronil scare did not lead to major culls, he added.
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