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Taiwan - Migratory birds test positive for H7N9

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  • Taiwan - Migratory birds test positive for H7N9

    Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    Migratory birds test positive for H7N9

    by Sean Lin / Staff reporter

    Samples taken from the droppings of migratory birds in Greater Kaohsiung’s Cieding Wetland (茄萣濕地) tested positive for the H7N9 avian influenza subtype, while a highly pathogenic H5 subtype was detected in the carcass of a thrush in Pingtung County’s Changjhih Township (長治), the Council of Agriculture said yesterday.

    Unlike the H7N9 subtype found in China, the newfound H7N9 is not very pathogenic and will not transmit to humans, it said.

    Animal Health Research Institute director-general Tsai Hsiang-jung (蔡向榮) said the genome sequencing conducted on the locally found H7N9 sample did not exhibit a characteristic defect identified in the one found in China, which is known to have a 30 percent fatality rate in humans.
    There have not been any incidents of the locally found H7N9 strain affecting humans, he added.

    Tsai said the H5 hemagglutinin taken from the dead thrush has been proven to be highly pathogenic and is the first one in the recent series to be confirmed from a migratory bird.

    With reference to doubts from the media and academic circles over the validity of the council’s claim that the current avian flu outbreaks were caused by migratory birds, Tsai said that his institute does not have any proof to back that claim, but is searching for more cases of migratory birds infected with the new strains — H5N2, H5N3 and H5N8.

    In response to speculation that the current outbreaks could have stemmed from poultry farms administering substandard vaccines to their birds, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Chang Su-san (張淑賢) said doing so is strictly prohibited by law and risks exacerbating the outbreaks.
    ?Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights ? that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

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