Taiwan reports H5N2 bird flu outbreak to OIE: official

Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Taiwan will report the country's eighth case of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) after confirming the case on Friday, according to a Council of Agriculture (COA) official. It was the first H5N2 case to be discovered at a wholesale poultry market in the country, and the eighth across the nation, said Chang Su-san, director of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine. The other five occurred at poultry farms, while the other two took place at slaughterhouses.
The case was confirmed following the government's efforts since May last year to step up testing of samples of the highly pathogenic virus at poultry markets, Chang noted. As part of the efforts, the Taipei wholesale poultry market took 100 serum samples, 100 stool specimens and six chicken samples for testing on April 15. One of the samples tested positive on April 23 for an H5N2 subtype virus, which was confirmed Friday by the bureau as an H5N2 strain, while other samples tested negative, Chang said.
Chang added that the sample was taken from one of two deceased chickens that came from a farm in Yunlin County. About 200,800 chickens had been raised on the farm and their daily death rate was normal at below 0.1 percent. A daily mortality rate of higher than 0.4 percent is considered abnormal, Chang said. Meanwhile, a Yunlin County animal quarantine official said that 18,635 chickens from the farm have been sold in phases. Following confirmation of the case, the bureau has taken measures to prevent the spread of the epidemic, including carrying out inspections and supervision for poultry farms near the Yunlin chicken farm and adopting other preventative methods. No virus or abnormality has been found among samples taken from eight farms in the area and during the inspection of 42 farms, according to Chang. Disinfection has been carried out at the Yunlin chicken farm and it will only be allowed to resume normal operation once it has been identified as virus-free, Chang added. (By Huang Chiao-wen, Yeh Tzu-kang and Evelyn Kao)