Officials step up efforts in H5N1 prevention

TAIWAN - Taiwan is covering its poultry and pig farms with nets to prevent migratory birds from infecting local flocks and livestock with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, an agricultural official said on Tuesday.
calendar icon 18 October 2006
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The island is a sanctuary for birds escaping the harsh Siberian winter. Each September they migrate to Taiwan, across Japan and Korea or over the east coast of China -- a country that has suffered at least 14 human deaths from the virus since 2003.

Taiwan has not reported any human cases of H5N1, but several fowl smuggled from China tested positive last year.

"Migratory birds are a key risk factor for bird flu, and smuggled birds another," said Huang Kuo-chin, an Agricultural Council official in charge of quarantine.

As a precaution against the spread of the disease, the Cabinet allocated NT$1 billion toward plastic and steel netting to cover the island's 20,000 poultry and pig farms. Farm owners are expected to cover half their costs.

Source: MyeGov

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