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Dec 18, 2008

Bird flu: We're &*^%#@!!!


Authorities in southern Taiwan are denying reports of an outbreak of the
H-5-N-2 strain of avian flu.

According to the Council of Agriculture ... a joint investigation by members
of its Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine and the
Centers for Disease Control has shown that poultry farms in Tainan and Nantou
counties are free of the disease, and that the sudden deaths of chickens at
farm in Gaoxiong in October is unrelated to the H-5-N-2 virus.

The statement follows media reports that the C-O-A attempted to cover-up a
series of outbreaks across southern Taiwan.

Speaking to reporters ... a C-O-A official said that an investigation into
the death of some 400 chickens in Gaoxiong County in late October and early
November showed that only around 3-per cent of the total number of chickens
had died - a fatality rate the C-O-A says is within the normal range for
poultry farms and far lower than the average mortality rate of the H-5-N-2

The C-O-A official added that although the dead birds did not show any signs
of respiratory disease, health officials decided to cull all the remaining
18-thousand chickens in an effort to prevent any negative consequences.

C-O-A officials are still checking agents obtained from the poultry farm in
order to determine the cause of the deaths and areas adjacent to the farm
are being closely monitored.

The official added that the C-O-A had never attempted to cover-up the
situation at the Gaoxiong farm and that a panel of experts has still not
completed an investigation into the deaths and that the delay in releasing
information about the possible outbreak was unrelated to the Ma
Administration's opening-up of more direct transport routes with China.

There have been claims that the C-O-A was forced to cover-up the outbreak in
order that not overshadow Monday's opening of direct maritime and air routes
to China.]

However .... Japan has announced that it will halt poultry imports from
Taiwan until results of the investigation are completed.

Unlike the H-5-N-1 strain of avian flu, there is no evidence that the H-5-N-2
virus can infect humans.

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