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Taiwan culls 36,000 chickens in latest bird flu outbreak

Taiwan has detected avian flu on 26 poultry farms this year

Bird flu control work at a Chiayi farm. (Chiayi County Government photo)

Bird flu control work at a Chiayi farm. (Chiayi County Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Authorities have culled more than 36,000 chickens in a central Taiwan chicken farm after the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza was detected.

A hen farm in Chiayi County’s Lioujiao Township was the latest to have succumbed to the virus, which led to the culling of 36,766 hens, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said on Thursday (March 2).

The county’s livestock disease control center on Tuesday (Feb. 28) received a report from the Council of Agriculture National Institute for Animal Health confirming H5N1 infections in its poultry. The culling and disinfection took place on Wednesday (March 1), per CNA.

Taiwan has reported avian flu on 26 poultry farms this year, mostly due to H5N1. Poultry farms are required to report to the authorities about suspicious bird flu cases or face a fine of up to NT$1 million (US$32,675) pursuant to the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Diseases (動物傳染病防治條例).

A global H5N1 outbreak has resulted in the deaths of millions of chickens, causing a strain on egg supplies and driving up egg prices. Japan’s agriculture ministry said Thursday (March 1) that the number of birds and chickens culled this winter will exceed 15 million, a record high.

An 11-year-old girl in Cambodia died from the virus last month as the detection of infections among mammals including minks has caused concern. According to a WHO report released on Feb. 24, a total of 868 cases of human infection with avian influenza (H5N1) were reported between January 2003 and January 2023 from 21 countries, 457 of them fatal.