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August 22, 2017

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Geese culled in Chiayi after bird flu found

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Nearly 1,700 geese were slaughtered at a farm in Chiayi County's (嘉義縣) Taibao City (太保市) on Monday after an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza sub-type H5N2, in an effort to stop the disease from spreading.

The strain came a day after 1,652 geese, also infected with the H5N2 virus, had been killed at a farm in Yunlin County (雲林縣).

According to the Livestock Disease Control Center of Chiayi County (LDCC, 家畜疾病防治所), the farm located in Taibao owned a total of around 1,700 susceptible geese, among which 200 were suspected of infection, reported by the owner surnamed Hung (洪) on April 1.

Officials told the Central News Agency that after receiving test results confirming the birds had been infected, authorities were sent to kill off the entire flock as a control measure, as well as cleaning and disinfecting the farm and nearby public spaces.

The dead birds were then sent to a nearby incinerator for disposal.

According to Chiayi County's Agriculture Department (AD, 農業處), the goose farm has been keeping the flock for almost a year, and the birds have begun to hatch eggs. Currently, the birds at two nearby farms have not shown unusual symptoms, but will be monitored over the next three months.

Recently, there have been isolated cases of bird flu found around the country, which indicates that viruses are still active in the environment. Farms and retailers should step up preventive efforts, restrict the entrance of people and cars, and report suspicious cases to authorities as soon as possible, stated the LDCC.

Control Measures Upped

Officials stated if farms are hit by the disease, personnel, vehicles, equipment, containers, and cages all have to be sanitized, in order to prevent future outbreaks.

The Council of Agriculture (COA, 農委會) urged those in the poultry industry to report any abnormalities in their flocks to their local LDCC for inspection, and those that fail to report accordingly will face a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million, and they will not receive compensation after the slaughtering of their flocks.

The strain of H5N2 avian influenza that has hit Yunlin County and Chiayi County in the past week brings the number of poultry farms around Taiwan affected by the new H5N2 strain to 17 since the beginning of this year, according to COA statistics.

Last year, the bird flu hit more than 400 goose farms, and only 100 have resumed operations, COA stated to local media.

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