TAIPEI, Taiwan - A total of 14 separate locations in Taiwan reported that they have chickens and waterfowl infected with the new strains of H5N2 and H5N8 bird flu yesterday, according to the Council of Agriculture (COA).
COA Director of Animal Health Hsu Jung-pin stated that the ministry dispatched workers to disinfect poultry farms, particularly heavily hit ones in Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County.
Kaohsiung City has a total of 490 poultry farms, of which 97 raise ducks and geese, each having stock of approximately 550 birds each.
The Centres for Disease Control stated that there is still no evidence of humans catching bird flu, and that among the 234 farm owners in Yunlin, Chiayi and Pingtung Counties, only 3 have symptoms such as coughing, runny noses and sore throats.
There is no evidence that those symptoms are in any way related to bird flu.
The Kaohsiung City Government assembled an emergency response team yesterday to prevent further transmission of the bird flu to waterfowl.
Kaohsiung City Deputy Mayor Wu Hung-mou requested that local authorities closely monitor all access points for livestock.
Nantou County Chairman Lin Ming-chen stated yesterday that no sign of bird flu has been discovered in Nantou County.
Lin stated that he is seeking funding for special disinfection stations, and agricultural inspectors will impose fines on farmers using manure from chicken excrement.
The head of Keelung's animal disease control centre, Chen Jui-pin, stated yesterday that three chicken farms in Keelung's Qidu District and one in Zhongshan District, each with approximately 500 chickens, are all part of the low-risk bird flu zone and have yet to take necessary precautions.
Chen explained that the animal disease control centre decided to send veterinarians to each of the four chicken farms to enforce a higher level of monitoring for bird flu and related diseases.
Chen also suggested that chickens should not be purchased or transported from other counties into the local area in order to minimise the risk of a nationwide epidemic.
Chen explained that H5N2 bird flu's potency and level of transmission is measured by the level of pathogens found within poultry. There is currently no evidence suggesting that this disease can be directly transmitted to humans, according to Chen.
The animal disease control centre advises that those who are concerned about being exposed to bird flu should avoid direct contact with live chickens and their excrement.
Those around animals should frequently wash their hands and maintain personal hygiene. For disinfecting objects at home, the centre recommends using a mix of bleach and water for thorough disinfection.
'6 Nos, 3 Musts' to Protect Personal Health
The Keelung Health Bureau chief, Wu Tse-cheng, stated yesterday that citizens should abide by "6 Nos and 3 Musts" to ensure their health even though there is still no evidence that H5N2 and H5N8 are contagious for humans.
Wu recommends that people should not go near, touch or feed any birds or purchase and eat any meat of unknown origin. In addition, the bureau discourages personally slaughtering poultry or handling raw poultry or eggs.
Wu advised that individuals coming in contact with raw meat or eggs should wash their hands thoroughly with soap.
Any poultry that is consumed should be cooked well for at least 30 minutes at a minimum temperature of 60 degrees.
Finally, the bureau recommends a balanced diet with exercise and sufficient sleep to minimise the risk of getting sick.
Wu gave a reminder that anyone showing symptoms of fever, cough or other illnesses should wear a face mask and consult a physician as soon as possible.