The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine on Friday disputed accusations in the media that alleged recent bird flu outbreaks were related to unauthorized inoculation with vaccines illegally imported from China, saying that the vaccine viruses and the viruses affecting local birds are different strains.
A report by online news outlet News and Market earlier this week said that highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N2, which is responsible for many of the bird flu cases reported since last month, could be linked to a commercial H5N2-based vaccine developed by a Chinese university.
The report said that unlicensed veterinarians in Taiwan purchased the vaccines online and vaccinated fowl in local farms, thereby introducing the H5N2 viruses into Taiwan.
Bureau director Chang Su-san (張淑賢) said that the Chinese vaccine is based on an Asian strain of the H5N2 viruses, while the H5N2 viruses found in Taiwan are of European origin.
The “H5” hemagglutinin genome sequence of the new strains of H5N2, H5N3 and H5N8 viruses found in the nation this year is a more than 98.8 percent match to the one seen in South Korea, which is assumed to be transmitted into Taiwan by migratory birds, Chang said.
Currently, bird flu vaccination is prohibited in Taiwan to reduce the risk of vaccine viruses recombining with viruses in the environment and mutating into new strains, while bird flu is still rampant in some countries where vaccination is practiced, she said.
Saying that a general immunization against bird flu viruses could not be realized without considerable vaccination coverage, she added that culling remains the most effective epidemic prevention measure, while a general vaccination program is not on the bureau’s agenda.
Unauthorized vaccination is subject to fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000 (US$1,845 and US$9,227) and repeat offenders could be fined up to NT$2.5 million the bureau said.
The bureau yesterday said that 3,500 broiler ducks on a farm in Pingtung County’s Kaoshu Township (高樹) were culled after the ducks were found to be infected with the H5 subtype virus.
No affected products have entered the market, the bureau said.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among