January 13, 2017 / 8:16 AM / 7 months ago

Taiwan confirms a new bird flu case, fourth this year

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan confirmed a new bird flu case on Thursday, the fourth this year, according to a statement posted on the website of the island's Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

The H5N2 avian flu virus was confirmed at a Yunlin county chicken farm, where 16,800 birds were culled to reduce the risk of further spreading, the statement said.

The farm will be compensated for its loss as it followed regulations and reported the case proactively to the authorities, it said.

Taiwan has reported four bird flu cases this year, all in Yunlin county on the island's western coast. More than 43,300 birds have been slaughtered in the county so far, including the most recent cull, according to the bureau's statement.

The Taiwan authorities urged poultry farmers to strengthen protection and sanitation as now is the peak season for bird flu outbreaks.

This comes as South Korea and Japan battle their own major outbreaks. In mainland China, authorities have also culled over 175,000 birds and closed some poultry markets following reported outbreaks among poultry and more than a hundred cases of human infection.

A new human H7N9 avian flu case was confirmed in China's Hunan province on Thursday, reported Xinhua news. The patient, a 59-year-old man from Yuanjiang City, had contact with poultry before he fell ill, said the local authorities.

A bird flu outbreak hit a goose farm in the same city in Hunan province earlier this month, Chinese Ministry of Agriculture had said on Wednesday. The authorities did not reveal whether the two cases were directly related.

Health authorities in Macau also confirmed the first imported human H7N9 infection case there on Thursday, according to Xinhua news. The 72-year-old female patient, a regular resident in Zhongshan in China's southern Guangdong province, raised chickens at her home, Xinhua reported.

China's Ministry of Agriculture said late last month that the recent outbreaks of bird flu have been handled in a "timely and effective" manner and have not affected chicken products or prices.

Reporting by Taipei Newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue

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