Avian flu hits 13 poultry farms in Yunlin County

Taipei-- Another poultry farm in Yunlin County has been confirmed to be infected with H5N2 avian flu, bringing the number of infected farms in the county to 13 so far this year, the county's Animal and Plant Disease Control Center said Monday.

The confirmation resulted in the culling of 3,900 chickens on Monday, bringing the cumulative number of birds that have been culled in the county because of the infection to over 130,000 so far this year. The authorities then disinfected nearby areas to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the center.

The 13 farms, raising mainly turkeys and chickens in closed enclosures, were confirmed to have been infected with H5N2 and H5N8, the center said.

After the confirmation of the H5N2 case, Yunlin Magistrate Lee Chin-yung (???) convened a meeting on avian flu control, as Taiwan has been ramping up its quarantine protocols to shield the nation from avian flu after the highly pathogenic strain of H5N6 virus was detected in Hualien in eastern Taiwan and then Tainan in the southwest of the country over the past week.

Liao Pei-chih (???), head of the county's Animal and Plant Disease Control Center, said the center has asked poultry farmers to strengthen their protective and sanitation measures, as now is the peak season for avian flu outbreaks.

Taiwan is on high alert for the deadly H5N6 strain because the virus can cause infection in both humans and animals, Liao said, adding that moreover, it has crossed Taiwan's Central Mountain Range, spreading from the eastern part of the island to the west, Liao said.

However, there is no need to panic, as there have been no confirmed cases of human infection with H5N6, Liao added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel