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Suspected bovine ephemeral fever outbreak strikes Tainan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A suspected outbreak of bovine ephemeral fever has struck cattle farms in Tainan, animal health officials said yesterday, with 246 suspected cases, or about 1 percent of the area's cattle population, reported over the past week.

The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said it has alerted cities and counties to step up quarantine measures and is also helping farm owners quarantine affected cattle and eliminate mosquitoes to reduce losses and stem the disease's spread.

The bureau reported that as of Monday night, 60 out of 101 cattle farms in Tainan had reported a total of 246 cattle suspected of having the fever, with 31 of them dying.

The Tainan City Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office warned that with the rainy season approaching, the population of vector mosquitoes, which spread the disease, is expected to increase, putting unprotected cattle at risk.

If cattle farms have failed to give their cattle five doses of a vaccine over the past two years and not set mosquito traps, the disease could be highly contagious, the office said.

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