Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) A new highly pathogenic strain of the H5N2 avian influenza virus has hit a chicken farm in Changhua County, bringing the number of poultry farms around Taiwan affected by the strain of avian flu to 15 since the beginning of this year, the Council of Agriculture (COA) reported Wednesday.
Chickens at a farm in Fangyuan in the central county were found to be infected with the new H5N2 strain Tuesday, leading to the culling of 11,592 egg-laying chickens, Chang Su-san (張淑賢), head of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said, adding that the bureau has directed the farm owner to clean and disinfect his farm.
Despite the strongest cold wave in a decade to hit Taiwan that occurred Jan. 22, the number of cases of bird flu did not increase as expected. This could be the result of the authorities' stepped up epidemic prevention efforts, according to Chang.
Last year, more than 400 goose farms were hit by bird flu and only about 100 have resumed operations. In addition, chickens at some 200 farms were culled and only some 170 have restarted operations, while ducks were culled at 60 farms, some 40 of which have resumed operations, Chang added.
(By Yang Su-min and Evelyn Kao)ENDITEM/J