Chiayi County gears up for bird flu battle with new regulations
The Chiayi County Government yesterday released an announcement appealing to its townships and industries to reinforce disease control measures and step up disinfection operations on poultry farms.
The Council of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine verified the presence of the H5 subtype avian influenza virus in one of Taitung ( ) Taimali Township’s ( ) poultry farms on Monday. Whether the bird flu is type H5N2, H5N8 or H5N3 still needs to be determined in an analysis report to be released later this week, said the bureau.
According to local news reports, the owner of the poultry farm in Taimali Township brought three free-range chickens and a turkey for testing at Taitung’s Animal Disease Control Center on July 30 saying that some of the farm’s chickens, ducks and geese sud- denly and inexplicably died.
Epidemic prevention workers discovered that the small farm raised hens, ducks and geese together and the farm’s facilities were simple and incapable of providing a good environment for the animals after they undertook a field examination. Mixing different species together generates a higher risk of bird flu outbreaks, said the bureau.
After receiving a positive result on the H5 subtype bird flu virus test, around 118 ducks and geese as well as 170 chickens were euthanized by the control center; to prevent possible spreading of the virus, the bureau also asked a free-range chicken farm situated three kilometers from the infected farm to stop raising chickens.
Chiayi County, which experienced severe avian influenza outbreaks at the beginning of this year, stated that the last confirmed case of infected poultry was on a goose farm on March 17; until yesterday, there were no reports of possible bird flu infections. The county government has also performed blood serum tests and disease inspections on poultry farms located in a one-kilometer radius of the infected farm.
The county government said that several cases have been appearing in other counties and cities, suggesting that the virus is active; they called out to farmers to strengthen disinfection procedures as well as raise awareness of poultry conditions and to report any suspected cases. Farmers can be fined from NT$50,000 to NT$1 million if they don’t report infections intentionally.
Those who are worried about eating chicken should ensure they cook their chicken thoroughly at at least 70 degrees Celsius in order to kill possible existing viruses. National Chung Hsing University’s Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Public Health Chang Chao-ching ( ) also recommends wearing gloves when handling raw meat and eggs and washing eggs before cracking them to minimize risks.