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Nantou added to watch list in avian flu outbreak

Nantou added to watch list in avian flu outbreak

The discovery of suspected cases of avian flu among birds in duck farms in Nantou County brings the total of counties where flocks are being monitored to eight. The list now includes duck and geese farms in Taoyuan, Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties as health authorities continue to keep a close watch on the situation.

21 new names were added to the list of poultry farms where birds are being tested and observed, bringing the total to 86 farms where a ban on transportation of a total of more than 340,000 ducks and geese has been imposed. Testing of samples from these farms has so far yielded a total of 39 farms where the avian flu virus has been confirmed, with most of those located in Changhua and Chiayi counties.

At present, culling has been carried out on a total of 23 farms, and as news concerning the outbreak continues to dominate the headlines in Taiwan, consumers are becoming wary about buying poultry and eggs.

In Nantou County general manager Wang Shun-sheng of the Taipei Livestock Company told reporters Tuesday, "Veterinary inspectors are checking relevant internal organs and some parts of the skin to confirm that the poultry are safe and there are no problems, We sold about 2100 ducks in Ilan today and about 1800 in Nantou, this is probably close to our usual amounts."

The Nantou County Bureau of Animal Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that it has inspected 23 duck farms and eight geeses farms so far, finding no evidence of abnormal bird deaths that might be attributable to avian flu. All the same, authorities are banning outside vehicles from entering farms in the county to avoid any possibility of cross-infection. Bureau Director Tang Chia-yung notes that cleaning and disinfection at farms in Caotun, Zhushang, Puli and other areas have been stepped up to reduce the chance of infection among bird populations. .

Another concern in the current outbreak is that poultry farmers in some areas may try to hide bird deaths that could catch the eyes of authorities. Clumps of dead birds have already been found in rivers in Yunlin and Chiayi counties, and expert have warned that the government may not be paying as much attention as they should to smaller farms with less than 3000 birds that are not required to register.

The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health, Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) warned Tuesday that anyone caught disposing of dead birds improperly may be subject to a fine of NT$6000 to 30,000. If the animals in question are found to be diseased the fine could be NT$50,000 to 1 million.

Disposed ducks were found at Shui-hsiang Township in Chiayi Tuesday, leading local authorities to rush to the scene and collect the birds for testing.

One expert in microbiology warned that dumping diseased birds into streams and rivers runs the risk of spreading the disease at many points downstream. Such actions could cause the contamination of irrigation water, they warn, and the government should announce a program to offer bonuses to anyone who informs on farmers who dispose of dead animals improperly.

Updated : 2021-09-24 08:52 GMT+08:00