Taiwan has confirmed the world’s first outbreak of a new strain of avian influenza.
The new variant of the H5N2 bird flu was found in four goose farms in central Yunlin prefecture and one duck farm in southern Pingtung prefecture, Apple Daily reported Monday, citing Taiwanese agriculture and quarantine authorities.
Officials said the H5N2 strain found in the farms is unlike all previous variants of the deadly virus.
In addition, H5N8 bird flu was confirmed in one goose farm in southern Chiayi prefecture, also for the first time, matching a strain detected in South Korea last year, the report said.
Since Jan. 8, two dozen duck and goose farms in Chiayi, Pingtung, Yunlin and Tainan prefecture have been sending samples for testing.
Agriculture chief Chen Bao-ji said the two viruses were most likely transmitted by migratory birds.
Meanwhile, Tsai Hsiang-jung, director general of the Animal Health Research Institute, said there might be loopholes in disease protection as academic institutions found no evidence H5N8 after studies on migrant birds.
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control said there have been no human infections from these viruses.
On Sunday, authorities ordered an island-wide ban on the commercial slaughter of domestic waterfowl until noon on Jan. 14.
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