Nov 15, 2017 Culture Comments Off on Council of Agriculture gears up for bird flu season
In February this year, the Council of Agriculture jumped into action after a case of the H5N6 strain of avian influenza was detected in a dead young duck. This is the same strain that had been at the center of outbreaks in Japan and South Korea. The Korean outbreak in particular resulted in a massive cull of poultry livestock. H5N6 is highly pathogenic and can also be transmitted to humans.
In response to the first case in Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture set up a central disaster response center. It also activated mechanisms for cooperation across various departments to integrate the response. The government also took the unprecedented measure of placing a weeklong ban on the slaughter and transport of poultry. The measures were effective and the country was able to declare itself free of the virus in May.
On Tuesday this week, the deputy head of the Council of Agriculture, Huang Jin-cheng, warned that bird flu season is coming round again. He said that H5N6 has recently been detected in Japan in the droppings of migratory birds. In anticipation that the virus could reach Taiwan in this way, Huang said the authorities will be stepping up inspections of poultry to the levels of February's outbreak.
Huang also said the Council of Agriculture is to convene a meeting on Wednesday of poultry industry figures and academic specialists. They will discuss potential measures for preventing an outbreak of bird flu this winter. He said one matter that has already been raised is the link between poultry farms and slaughterhouses. In the past, a single slaughterhouse has typically taken birds from at least 10 farms. This has made the source of infection difficult to trace if a single bird is found to be infected.
Source: Radio Taiwan International
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