Avian flu hits Yunlin farm, 989 turkeys culled

Officials from the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) are seen in this file picture taken on Dec. 17, 2018. According to the BAPHIQ, several turkeys on the farm in Sihu Township were confirmed as having contracted the virus. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A total of 989 turkeys on a farm in Yunlin County were culled after it was confirmed to be infected with the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza virus, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Sunday.

Several turkeys on the farm in Sihu Township were confirmed as having contracted the virus, the COA’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said in a statement.

The BAPHIQ said the Yunlin County Animal and Plant Disease Control Center performed the culling based on standard operating procedures and reminded the farm’s operators and other poultry farms in the area to disinfect their facilities. According to BAPHIQ data, 97 poultry farms in Taiwan have been infected with avian flu so far this year.

Because the risk of catching avian flu increases during the winter, the BAPHIQ urged farm operators to take preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease, including strict controls of poultry movements and potentially contaminated vehicles and personnel visiting poultry farms.

The agency also called on all poultry farm operators to keep their birds warm and in a place with good ventilation as temperatures vary considerably between daytime and nighttime. Farm operators should also keep their poultry from coming into contact with local wild birds and migratory birds, the bureau said.

By Wu Hsin-yun and Evelyn Kao