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article imageOver 2,300 people being monitored for bird flu in Taiwan

By Karen Graham     Jan 25, 2015 in Health
Taiwan - On Saturday, a four-day ban on the killing of chickens, ducks and geese in slaughterhouses went into effect across Taiwan because the current outbreak of the avian flu virus is continuing to spread. Over 2,300 poultry farm employees are being monitored.
According to Avian Flu Talk, the chief of Taiwan's Agricultural Council, Chen Bao-ji, told China news agency Xinhua on Thursday the current outbreak of bird flu, also called Avian flu is the worst Taiwan has experienced in the past decade. According to the latest figures released by the agricultural authority on Thursday, 31 more poultry farms were found to be infected with avian influenza as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, bringing the total number of affected farms on the island to 301.
Taiwan's 10 largest counties have already culled poultry from 186 farms, with a total of 403,811 infected livestock being killed. The first case in this current outbreak was confirmed on January 9 when a farm in Pingtung was hit by the H5N2 virus. To control the spread of the virus, the agricultural authority has ordered that all farms must cull their flocks if hit with the H5N2 avian flu virus and have a death rate of 20 percent over a period of two days.
Human cases of H7N9 bird flu spreading
The H7N9 influenza A bird flu strain can cause serious infections in humans. On Friday, Shanghai reported the second human case of A(H7N9) this year. The Shanghai municipal commission of health and family planning issued a statement saying a 73-year old woman was confirmed to be infected with the virus on Thursday. The patient is in critical condition under emergency care.
On Saturday, Guangdong Province in South China reported two new cases of A(H7N9) infection in humans. This brings the total of infections with A(H7N9) virus infections to 15 this month. The two patients, a 46-year-old man from Meizhou City and a 77-year-old man from Chaozhou City, are in critical condition. In addition to Guangdong and Shanghai, Fujian and Zhejiang along the eastern Chinese coast, have seen A(H7N9) bird flu cases in the human population this year.
Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus
Avian influenza, (Al) is more commonly called the bird flu, and is an infectious disease of birds. There are many subtypes of the avian flu virus, and for a long time, there were only five subtypes listed, with some strains that could infect humans. Until very recently, the types were H5N1, H7N3, H7N7, H7N9, and H9N2. In December of 2013, an elderly woman in Jiangxi Province, China died of pneumonia after being infected with the H10N8 strain.
In March of 2013, we saw the emergence of the H7N9 virus subtype, a supposedly low pathogenic AI virus. Two people in Shanghai and one person in Anhui province were confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 virus. No cases were reported outside China. The onset of the bird flu was thought to be related to direct exposure to poultry or poultry environments. This resulted in the closure of live poultry markets for several months. The H5N1 and H7N9 bird flu viruses have now been found to have high fatality rates, much higher than the seasonal flu viruses we see every year.
On Jan. 22, Digital Journal's Tim Sandle published an article detailing an interesting study on the H7N9 bird flu virus. The article explains how scientists were able to demonstrate how the common H9N2 bird flu virus, common to China's poultry farms triggered the advent of the H7N9 bird flu virus.
More about Avian flu, H7N9, H5n1 bird flu, Taiwan, Slaughterhouses
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