H2N5 found in chicken in New Taipei: Officials

A market in New Taipei City was closed yesterday for disinfection after a chicken sample collected there was found to be H5N2 positive, officials said.

But the city officials maintained that the avian flu virus was determined to be of low pathogenicity, and that the chicken came from outside of New Taipei City.

The Cabinet's Council of Agriculture (COA) will trace the origin of the chicken, the officials said.

The sample was collected from the Defu market, a major chicken market in New Taipei City's Sanchong District, as the city stepped up monitoring poultry products after an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 was reported in Taiwan.

The COA, after conducting tests on the sample, informed the city government on March 22 that the chicken was infected with H5N2, the officials said.

The city government closed and disinfected the market. Neighboring areas within a 3-kilometer radius were also disinfected, and no livestock was found in the areas, the officials added. But as the slaughterhouse attached to the market is illegal, the city plans to demolish it in May.

Meanwhile, Yilan County also reported an H5N2 case from one of its duck markets, with disease control officials saying they have yet to determine whether it was a highly pathogenic case.

More than 300 ducks at the market were culled, according to the COA. The officials were tracking the source of the H5N2-infected ducks, which were said to have come from Changhua County, according to a Central News Agency report.

But the farm in Changhua that sold the ducks to Yilan claimed that the birds came from a farm in Yunlin County, the report said.

Disease control officials in Yunlin investigated the claims but found no traces of bird flu at the farm, and the farm was empty when they arrived to inspect.

The owner of the farm in Dounan, Yunlin County told the investigators that he raised 5,000 ducks on behalf of a Changhua farm for 80 days for a fee of NT$10 per bird, with the client providing all the feed.

The Dounan farm owner said the Changhua client transported all the ducks away in three batches in early March, according to the CNA.

The Dounan owner said that about 30 of the ducks died during those 80 days at his farm, and there was no sign of a bird flu outbreak.

The Yunlin officials still disinfected the farm and its neighboring areas, and will start inspecting other duck farms in Yunlin to see whether there are signs of an avian flu outbreak, the CNA said.