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Avian flu outbreak escalating in Taiwan

Staff writer |
An avian flu outbreak on poultry farms in Taiwan has intensified over the past few weeks as the weather turned cooler, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said.

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It said that in the period from December 4 last year to January 4, avian flu hit 22 farms in Taiwan, escalating from one or two farms per week since last autumn.

Over the past three weeks, four to five poultry farms per week have been reporting infections, according to the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.

Shih Tai-hua, deputy chief of the bureau, said 10 of the 22 farms confirmed to have been infected in the one-month period from Dec. 4 last year were hit by the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus, a new strain that has been discovered in Taiwan for the first time.

The other seven of the 22 farms were also infected with highly pathogenic virus strains, while the strains on the rest five farms have not yet been identified, Shih said.

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