A total of 57,500 chickens have been culled in areas around Greater Tainan and Changhua County in Taiwan’s first outbreak of the H5N2 avian influenza strain, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.
The chicken farm in Changhua reported the disease on Dec. 27 last year, while cases at a farm in Greater Tainan were detected on Feb. 7, council officials said. The chickens in Greater Tainan were culled on Feb. 10, while the culling of the ones in Changhua was completed yesterday morning, the officials added.
The outbreak was under control and no chickens at nearby farms were found to be sick, added Wu Ming-pin (吳名彬), deputy director of Greater Tainan’s Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office.
The H5N2 strain cannot be passed from human to human and none of the three farmers or six inspectors showed symptoms of infection, the Centers for Disease Control said.
However, poultry product exports worth NT$700 million (US$23.8 million) might be banned by the nation’s trading partners because Taiwan could be listed as an infected region if the virus is confirmed to be highly pathogenic, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.
Poultry meat is one of the country’s top poultry product exports, with a value of between NT$360 million and NT$370 million per year, said Hsu Kuei-sen (許桂森), director of the council’s husbandry division.
Other exports that could be affected include preserved eggs, salted duck eggs, raw eggs and pet birds, Hsu added.
If the exports are banned, Taiwan’s poultry trade would resume only if no H5N2 case appears for three months. The bureau said it would report the outbreak to the World Organisation for Animal Health.