TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Council of Agriculture's (COA) Bureau of Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Quarantine (BAPHIQ) released the newest set of data yesterday from samples submitted on Feb. 4 showing that the virus transmission rate among ducks is relatively low.
BAPHIQ chief Chang Shu-hsian stated that among the 46 duck farms that were screened, only 11 of them tested positive for any of the H5 sub-strains of bird flu, showing that the epidemic has not struck the nation's duck industry to the same extent as geese.
BAPHIQ announced yesterday that an additional 2 chicken and 2 goose farms were added to the list of 788 farms detected across the nation since the start of the epidemic. As new farms are still being found, Chang stated that those in the poultry industry should not have their guard down as risk of an epidemic resurgence are still present.
Chang cited an example of a bird flu outbreak in South Korea last year that was brought under control in early September and then saw a sudden resurgence at the end of the month. Chang therefore expressed hesitation in firmly stating that Taiwan's recent epidemic is under control.
According to the experiences of other countries, a minimum of 3 months of monitoring is required from the time of the epidemic's peak before officials can formally declare the epidemic over.
The most recent government data shows that the epidemic has mostly affected goose farms, with a total of 662 farms and 2,169,742 geese infected.
The COA believes that the only goose farms that have not tested positive for bird flu are relatively small goose farms. Among the 11 duck farms that tested positive in the retest, 8 were located in Tainan City and 3 in Pingtung County.
Chang explained that there have been a total of 16 different strains of the H bird flu that have affected poultry and wild birds in Taiwan over the past several months.
It is still not clear which strain of the H bird flu is affecting the 11 duck farms, although test results are expected to come out within the next 2 days.
Over NT$120 Million (S$5.1 million) in Subsidies Distributed
As of Feb. 8, the COA has distributed approximately 60 per cent of total government subsidies to poultry farmers that have had their livestock culled in line with the COA's epidemic safety precautions.
The COA indicated that more than NT$120 million has been distributed to farmers. Among the allocated subsidies, 16 farms in Tainan City received NT$8,048,000, 17 farms in Kaohsiung received NT$5,947,000, 104 farms in Yunlin received NT$57,646,000 and 59 farms in Pingtung County received NT$48,942,000.