TAIPEI (dpa) – Taiwan confirmed Sunday that the avian influenza virus H5N8 has been detected for the first time in Taiwan, according to state-run Central News Agency.
Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji said that the H5N8 virus, a highly pathogenic influenza A subtype, was found in tissue samples from geese raised for breeding in a farm in Chiayi County in southern Taiwan.
The affected goose farm had reported 3,500 deaths. After the detection of the H5N8 strain, the remaining 1,500 geese were destroyed immediately.
Last Friday, the detection of the H5N2 strain at a chicken farm in Pingtung led to the slaughter of 120,000 chickens. Since then, several duck and goose farms have been reporting abnormal egg production and deaths, the agency said.
In addition, the Council of Agriculture said Sunday that a new type of the H5N2 virus strain was found in other five duck and goose farms. Officials said the type was also detected in Taiwan for the first time.
“We suspect that such new types of viruses were brought by migratory birds to Taiwan,” the council’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Chang Su San said.