Taiwan Finds H5N1
On Smuggled Birds
From China

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
ProMed Mail From Tzu Mei Huang
Taiwan intercepted a Panama-registered cargo ship from China on October 14th and found hundreds of smuggled birds, mice and turtles. Taiwan's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) were responsible for this joint operation. The smuggled animals were destroyed the next day. 19 specimens were collected from the 1037 birds and were sent to the Animal Health Research Institute for RT-PCR and chick embryo inoculation to examine whether these birds carried avian flu virus.
The result came out today (20th) and showed those birds were avian flu H5N1-positive. Since the smuggled animals were completely destroyed, we are able to timely prevent the invasion of avian flu.
Officials wore full protective gear in the process of making arrests and destroying animals to protect their own health. They also followed self-health-management regulations to monitor [their own] health status for 10 days. All related personnel in the operation are currently in good health, and the local health bureaus and the 3rd Branch office of the Taiwan CDC will continue to monitor their health.
At the time of the operation, a total of 25 people were on board; 24 of them left the country on the same ship on 16 Oct 2005. One of them was detained in the Taichung Detention Center on the charge of smuggling. He showed no bird flu symptoms, and he will be administered preventive medication starting today.
Tzu Mei Huang Deputy Director, Surveillance Division Center for Disease Control, Taiwan
ProMed Mail AFX via
Some birds (which species?! - Mod.AS) smuggled into Taiwan from China have tested positive for the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, but an outbreak is unlikely, as all the seized birds had already been destroyed, health officials said.
"Samples collected before the birds were destroyed were later tested positive for H5N1," said Ying Yeh, deputy director of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.
The number of infected birds is not immediately available, Yeh said.
China yesterday announced its 1st reported outbreak of bird flu in more than 2 months, saying the disease had killed 2600 birds, mostly chickens, on a farm in its northern Inner Mongolia region.
Taiwan's coast guard last week confiscated and destroyed some 1500 birds smuggled from the southeast Chinese city of Fuzhou [capital of Fujian province, southeast China] aboard a Panama-registered vessel in the island's central Taichung harbour.
"There shouldn't be any worry about a bird flu outbreak, as all birds including the affected ones were killed right on the spot where they were confiscated," Yeh said.
It was the 2nd time Taiwan has seized birds smuggled from mainland China since the coast guard launched a crackdown on the illegal trade in August [2005].
(In December 2003, the Taiwan authorities destroyed 6 smuggled ducks which were found on the water near Taiwan's front-line island of Quemoy. Reportedly, the ducks were found infected with the H5N1 virus that hit Hong Kong in 1997.
From the current Taiwanese CDC report, which is gratefully acknowledged, it might be assumed that the confiscated birds were probably not domestic poultry. Were they pet-birds? Otherwise? Which species? Did they show disease symptoms? Any pathological changes? Details, if available, will be appreciated.
China has sent to the OIE its 3rd follow-up report on avian influenza on 19 Oct 2005. The report describes an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza caused by an H5 virus, in chicken and ducks in the village of Tengjiaying, Huhehot municipality, Inner Mongolia.
According to the report, the outbreak started on 14 Oct 2005 and the diagnosis performed by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, on 19 Oct 2005. HI was positive, RT-PCR positive, and IVPI (Intravenous pathogenicity index, performed in 6-weeks-old chicken) "highly pathogenic". The report says that the source of infection is "contact with wild animals," indicating that "migrating birds pass and stay around the pool where the HPAI outbreak [was detected]." In response to the outbreak, vaccination was carried out, applying inactivated mono H5N2 vaccine. The report is available at
Could it be assumed from the above newswire that a previous consignment of birds smuggled from China, confiscated after August 2005, was tested and not found positive? - Mod.AS
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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