After several days of media speculation, Taiwan officials have confirmed an outbreak of LPAI (low pathogenic avian influenza) H5N2 in Southern Taiwan. H5N2 is not known to cause illness in humans.
Remarkably, poultry deaths apparently started in late October, and continued into November, according to various media reports.
Officials have denied any cover up, saying there had been no public announcement because they had not completed an investigation into the matter.
There has been no immediate explanation as to why it has taken 2 months to determine that an outbreak had occurred.
This report from the Straits Times.
Dec 20, 2008
--PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
TAIPEI - A SENIOR Taiwanese official says a mild form of bird flu has been found in chickens that died at a poultry farm in southern Taiwan.
Taiwan's Council of Agriculture Chairman Chen Wu-hsiung says the chickens tested positive for the H5N2 virus, a less virulent strain that is not known to be harmful to humans.
Saturday's statement by Mr Chen follows the agency's announcement three days ago that it was running tests on chickens that died in the southern county of Kaohsiung in October to see whether they carried bird flu. -- AP
And from Monsters & Critics we get this DPA report, indicating that Taiwan will suspend export of its chickens for at least 90 days.
Dec 20, 2008, 11:21 GMT
Taipei - Taiwan said Saturday it was suspending poultry exports for at least three months owing to an outbreak of what officials said was a mild form of bird flu.
'Tests have confirmed that the bird flu that broke out at the chicken farm in Kaohsiung County on October 21 is the low pathogenic strain of H5N2 birdflu. It is transmitted only from poultry to poultry and not to humans,' Chen Wu-hsiung, chairman of the Council of Agriculture, told reporters.
'Even so, we are treating the case with the same seriousness as if it were the H5N1 type,' he said.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) had been notified, and exports would resume export if no outbreak was reported at the 76 chicken farms within a three-kilometre radius of the infected farm in the three months, he added.
After the Taiwanese press reported the outbreak on Wednesday, Japan immediately stopped importing Taiwan ducks, pending the outcome of tests. Japan, biggest importer of the ducks, takes 5,000 tons as year, worth 23 million dollars.