Number of H5N6 bird flu cases rises to 17 (update)

Taipei--Two cases of the highly pathogenic H5N6 avian influenza infection were confirmed in Hsinchu and Tainan Sunday, bringing the total number of H5N6 cases around the country to 17 since Feb. 6, when Taiwan reported its first case, according to statistics released Sunday by the Council of Agriculture.

The council's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said the latest two cases involve a chicken that was discarded in Hukou Township of Hsinchu County that was confirmed to have contracted H5N6 virus and a pheasant in Qigu, Tainan that was confirmed to have been infected with both H5N6 and H5N2.

Earlier in the day, the bureau reported three new cases confirmed Saturday, including one found on a chicken farm in Yunlin County, one on a goose farm in Chiayi County and the other involving ducks at a slaughter house in Yilan County.

As of Sunday, all the cases had been reported from 8 poultry farms in Hsinchu County, Yunlin County, Chiayi County, Tainan, Yilan County and Hualien County.

The recent outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu virus has put the authorities on high alert because it is highly contagious and transmittable to humans.

As part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the disease, the COA has banned the transportation and slaughtering of poultry for seven days starting from Feb. 17.

The outbreaks have led to the culling of 188,696 birds in 28 poultry farms across the island, including 18 in Yunlin, 5 in Chiayi, 3 in Tainan, and one each in Yilan and Hualien, according to the bureau.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel