Authorities yesterday confirmed that a turkey farm in Tainan has been infected with the H5N6 avian influenza virus and that a cull has been carried out.
Other poultry farms within a 3km to 5km radius of the infected farm in Lioujia District (六甲) are to be monitored, but so far no other cases have been reported, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.
It was the second confirmed case in the nation after Hualien County on Feb. 5 reported a dead gosling infected with the H5N6 virus at a Yuli Township (玉里) farm and the infection in that case was confirmed on Saturday.
A ban prohibiting the transportation of waterfowl from Hualien County to other parts of the nation was imposed on Monday last week and is to run through Tuesday next week.
However, the ban came a day too late for scores of workers in Yilan County.
Ducks from a farm within a 3km radius of where the infected gosling was found were transported to an Yilan slaughterhouse the day before the ban was announced.
That batch of ducks tested positive for the H5N6 virus and authorities said that all 3,787 frozen duck carcasses have been destroyed.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said that 245 people who had been within a 3km radius of where the dead gosling was found had been monitored for possible H5N6 avian flu infection last week, and 244 were removed from the watch list yesterday.
However, another 74 people are being monitored, Lo said.
The new group includes a farmer from Hualien who was a holdover from the first group, three drivers that transported the batch of ducks from that man’s farm to a slaughterhouse in Yilan County and 70 others, including slaughterhouse workers, veterinarians and disease-prevention personnel who took part in destroying duck carcasses at the slaughterhouse, Lo said.
They are to be monitored until Tuesday next week, he said.
Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) yesterday said the council has suggested to the Executive Yuan that it establish a “Central Epidemic Response Center” to prevent the virus from spreading.
The H5N6 avian flu virus has been reported in humans in China, which has prompted the CDC to remind people who work with poultry and birds to enhance disease prevention measures, wear surgical masks and seek medical attention immediately if flu-like symptoms occur.
In addition, the public should avoid touching live birds or picking up dead birds, and remember to cook eggs and poultry meat thoroughly, and wash hands thoroughly with soap after handling raw poultry or eggs, the agency said.
Additional reporting by Lin Yan-tung
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