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Third avian flu virus strain detected in Taiwan

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Agriculture personnel cull geese at a farm in Chiayi county, southern Taiwan, January 11, 2015.

A third highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza has been detected in southern Taiwan.

The Taiwan Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said Friday that for the first time in Taiwan avian influenza virus H5N3 has been identified on two goose farms in the southern cities of Kaohsiung and Pingung.

“We are sure that such new types of viruses found in Taiwan were brought by migratory birds this winter,” said Chang Su San, the bureau’s director general.

All three newly detected bird flu virus strains have been recognized fatal to domestic poultry.

Council of Agriculture authorities said that since the outbreak started, more than 100,000 infected geese and ducks have died or have been culled, and another 240,000 are being examined for H5 strains.

Taiwan officials confirmed on January 11 that the avian flu H5N8 virus strain and a new type of H5N2 virus strain were detected.

According to the officials the new strain is the result of a virus recombination of H5N2, H5N8 or H5N3 subtypes of bird flu virus.

H5N8 and H5N2 strains were detected in South Korea last year, and the H5N2 subtype was found four years ago in China’s northeastern province of Jilin.


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