Wed, Dec 06, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Dead bird raises concern over new H5N6

‘ISOLATED CASE’?The genetic formation of the H5N6 strain that killed a black-faced spoonbill is closer to a type detected in a bird in Japan last month

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A handout photo made available by the Council of Agriculture shows agricultural officials inspecting a poultry slaughterhouse in New Taipei City on Monday to check its measures on preventing bird flu.

Photo: Council of Agriculture / EPA

A dead black-faced spoonbill found in Tainan was on Monday confirmed to have been infected with a highly pathogenic H5N6 subtype of avian influenza in the first such case in the nation.

The bird was found at Taijiang National Park (台江國家公園) in Tainan on Friday, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine deputy director-general Shih Tai-hua (施泰華) said.

The H5N6 strain is different from the ones found in Taiwan before, while its genetic formation is closer to the H5N6 type detected in a wild bird in Japan last month and the H5N8 subtype found in infected birds in Europe in the fourth quarter of last year, Shih said.

The latest incident is “an isolated case” and the council is working to prevent the alien virus from infecting other fowls at poultry farms, he said.

Council of Agriculture Minister Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) on Monday night inspected a poultry market in New Taipei City that has an ancillary slaughterhouse and announced the council’s plans to prevent an outbreak of bird flu.

Native chickens are more likely to be infected during an epidemic, as they are usually raised in chicken coops, which might retain the viruses brought by people coming in and out, Lin said.

Accordingly, native chicken dealers have been asked to place origin-tracing signs outside their containers, which would facilitate disposal of infected fowls, he said.

The policy has been implemented at a poultry market in New Taipei City and the Huannan Market (環南市場) in Taipei, Lin added.

Poultry farmers are encouraged to sell their native chickens raised in the same coop in five days, he said.

The council has banned the removal of any fowls from farms within a 5km radius of where the dead spoonbill was found.

Farms within a 3km radius of wetlands are required to monitor their fowls, the council added.

Starting from Monday next week, the council will monitor duck farms that failed to cooperate with its preventive measures before, as well as native chicken farms from Changhua County southwards, it said.

The two officials who touched the dead spoonbill have not shown any symptoms of flu infection as of yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control said yesterday, adding that it would continue monitoring their health for 10 days.

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