Chi­ayi County gears up for bird flu bat­tle with new reg­u­la­tions

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY ANITA YANG

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.

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