Bird flu outbreak confirmed in western Taiwan, 32,500 chickens culled

Over 32,500 chickens culled in Changhua,Taiwan after bird flu confirmed

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(Image from Changhua County Government)

(Image from Changhua County Government)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An outbreak of the avian influenza virus (bird flu) has been reported in a farm in western Taiwan's Changhua County, with more than 340 chickens found dead from the disease and over 32,500 culled, announced the Animal Disease Control Center (ADCC) yesterday (Feb. 18).

ADCC Director Tung Meng-chih (董孟治) told the media yesterday that a farm located in Changhua County's Dacheng Township notified the Changhua County Animal Disease Control Center on Feb. 13 that there were 340 sudden, successive deaths by its chickens, and they suspected that avian influenza could be the culprit. When inspectors arrived on the scene, they cordoned off the area and took samples of the farm's free-range chickens.

Tung said that test results came on Sunday (Feb. 17), which confirmed that the farm's chickens had contracted the H5N2 subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. Staff from the Changhua County Animal Disease Control Center rushed in to cull 32,500 free-range chickens on the farm and disinfected the area to prevent the spread of the virus.

Tung stressed that the H5N2 subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza has long been localized in Taiwan and coupled with the arrival of migratory birds during the winter, the opportunities for spreading the virus have increased.

Tung said that if a poultry farm notices that their birds are displaying suspicious symptoms, such as facial swelling, bleeding from the eyes and beak, lack of appetite, diarrhea, breathing problems, and sudden deaths, the livestock owner should notify the township and municipal public office or Animal Disease Control Center.