Hong Kong’s “bird flu
” was a virus that was part human，
part avian. Much luck，
hard scientific labor and
containment measures prevented that
outbreak from turning into a global
catastrophe. Next time we might
not be so fortunate.
The Council of Agriculture (COA)
has decided to destroy close to 20,000 chickens at a
ranch in Changhua
County found to have the H5N2 strain of avian
virus, in a
move to control its possible spread.
A Department of Health (DOH) issued a new warning that Taiwan should
be on high alert against avian flu because the island happens to be
a mid-point stop in Asia of migratory birds. COA officials
yesterday that H5N2 virus was detected at a ranch in Fanyuan Hsiang
of Changhua in central Taiwan. More than 19,000 chickens and all
eggs at the ranch will be destroyed and buried as early as possible.
ranch n .農場
avian flu 禽流感
detect v. 查出
He added that
the recent avian flu cases among people in Asia is a bad sign.
warning after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the
previous day that avian flu could pose a greater threat than the
outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the first
half of 2003.
Last year, SARS killed 800 people around the world, becoming an
international crisis that resulted in travel advisories and economic
Noting that avian flu
cases have been reported among people in Hong Kong in recent years
and that three people in Vietnam have died of the disease, Su said
Taiwan should be on guard against a possible outbreak.
Su said that the
government will step up monitoring work of the health of chickens
and ducks in Taiwan, adding that if the birds are found to have the
disease, they will be destroyed immediately.
It was originally
thought that only birds could be
the disease. However, the disease jumped the species
Hong Kong in May 1997 with the first reported human case of avian
Although it has been known for some time that a wide range of
influenza viruses circulate among wild birds, only two types have
ever been known to jump to humans — H5N1 and H9N2.
Su said Taiwan has
never had a reported avian flu case in the past, but the monitoring
of migratory birds last year led to the discovery of the H5 virus in
some of the birds. Fortunately, it was not the H5N1 subtype, and it
was not transmitted to fowl in Taiwan.
Medical experts said
that people with pet birds or treating injured birds should make
sure to wear gloves and masks as a precaution. There should be
plastic sheets placed at the bottom of paper cartons, in addition to
newspaper when taking the birds to experts for diagnosis.
officials said the supply and prices of chickens, ducks, and eggs
for the Chinese New Year holiday season will remain stable in spite
of the avian flu scare.
step up 加快；增加
Pakistan said two million chickens had died of a mild form of the
disease and Taiwan reported a new outbreak of the mild H5N2 virus
which cannot, unlike the H5N1 strain, pass to humans as it has in
Vietnam, where it killed six people, and Thailand.
Thailand expanded its bird flu crisis zone to 10 of its 76 provinces
from just two as it grappled with a virus the World Health
Organization fears might mate with human influenza and unleash a flu
Indonesia said at least 400 farms across the vast archipelago
suffered outbreaks. But officials said they would only know by the
end of the week, when laboratory test results were available,
whether it was the less dangerous of two avian flu strains.
The WHO said it had seen no evidence its greatest fear,
people-to-people transmission, had been realized yet.
But it fears the potentially deadly H5N1 strain could jump into
Myanmar and Laos from stricken farms just over the border in
grapple with 搏鬥
Su also said that the number of human flu cases reported in Taiwan
this year was the lowest in 30 years, with the number of cases this
month so far down by two-thirds on the cases reported in January
Su attributed the cut in flu cases to vaccinations administered last
year as well as widely implemented health education measures.
"We've already vaccinated 4,700 pig and poultry farm workers and
will continue to vaccinate cullers and other workers in the
industry," Su said.
Although these vaccinations were useless in fighting avian flu, Shih
said that they were still being provided for two important reasons.
"Firstly, we do not want bird flu to latch on to strains of human
flu. The vaccinations will reduce the number of people with human
"Secondly, people sick with human influenza would be more
susceptible to bird flu," Shih said.
"If bird flu and human flu come into contact with one another, a
virus mutation would be likely and the possibility of
person-to-person transmission of avian flu would increase," Su said
prior to his departure.
The spread of bird flu has emerged with a
rapidity the WHO calls
"We don't know how this virus is spreading and so it's safe to
presume that nowhere can consider itself safe," Cordingley said.
"The challenge is growing by the day."
The deaths of the Thai boys means all but one of at least eight
confirmed flu victims have been children, leaving scientists trying
to figure out why the young are so vulnerable.
Thailand also has 10 suspected cases, of whom five have died, and
tests are underway to determine whether bird flu was the cause.
Right now, the priority is killing all the chickens in range of the
Millions have been slaughtered, especially in Thailand.
The country raises one billion chickens a year and is the fourth
biggest poultry exporter in the world.
Health experts have warned that SARS and the bird flu virus H5N1
could re-emerge this winter, traditionally the peak season for human
Scientists fear the bugs could mix with human flu and
produce even deadlier and more infectious strains.
Both SARS and the bird flu have cast the spotlight on Chinese
culinary culture and eating habits, and whether they can be adapted
to modern health standards.
Chinese have always preferred to buy chickens live at markets or
even breed them in their own backyards, believing that freshly
slaughtered chicken tastes better and is more nutritious.
Asian governments have worked quickly to try to
curb the virus, and
the WHO's Vietnam representative Pascale Brudon attributed that in
part to last year's major outbreak of SARS.
"I can see there is increased awareness of the need for good
surveillance, the need for acting urgently when we have a problem. I
think this is a ... positive aspect and a lesson learned from SARS,
which has helped us in this new crisis," Brudon said in Hanoi.
In Taiwan, health workers donned surgical masks and blue suits
yesterday to dispose of 20,000 chickens infected with a milder
variant of the virus hitting the other Asian countries. Officials on
the island said the H5N2 strain poses little threat but that they
wanted to avoid possible mutations and other risks.
Not taking any chances, Hong Kong moved to bar poultry imports from
Taiwan, China and Cambodia already have halted poultry imports from
Vietnam, South Korea and Japan. Indonesia barred poultry imports
from those three countries yesterday.
The H5N1 virus is the same one that jumped to people in Hong Kong in
1997, killing six.
The deadly virus － highly contagious among chickens － has not
shown any human-to-human transmission, and is believed to spread to
humans through contact with infected birds. Health officials say if
it mutates and mixes genetic material with a human flu virus it
could become contagious in humans, sparking a major health crisis.
dispose of 解決；處理