Inspections of chickens suspected of having been infected with avian influenza in Changhua County returned H5N2-positive results from chicken tissue samples.
However, the overall death rate among the chickens remained normal, the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.
The bureau’s comments came in relation to a dead chicken suspected of having contracted avian influenza that was received by the council on Dec. 27.
The bureau instructed the Changhua County Animal Health Inspection and Protection Center to investigate the site the next day and its inspections were completed on Saturday.
Tissue samples were twice taken from the site for testing, on Dec. 30 and Wednesday last week, the bureau said, adding that the chickens presented with no obvious clinical symptoms of avian influenza, with their daily death rate lower than the average for henhouses of 0.05 percent to 0.075 percent.
Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director Hsu Tien-lai (許天來) said that normally, the death rate in birds that contract avian influenza is as high as between 90 percent and 100 percent.
“However, at the site we inspected, the daily death rate was less than 10 on some days and more than 100 only infrequently, which is very different from avian influenza,” Hsu said.
After inspections at 115 sites in the vicinity of the location, no unusual trends in poultry deaths were found, the bureau said. H5N2-positive results came only from serological tests of the chickens’ tissue samples.
In addition, the bureau said that according to data provided by the Poultry Association and National Animal Industry Foundation, the number of egg producing hens has remained at about 25 million for the past three months, producing about 91,000 boxes of eggs a day, which is normal.
Avian influenza has often occurred in the months of January and February, the bureau said.
In response, it began to step up inspections at ports of entry, while also monitoring and conducting sample tests on migratory birds, chickens from local markets and supervising site disinfections.