Taiwan reports first H5N6 bird flu case

Taipei , Feb 6 (IANS) Taiwan reported the first bird flu case of the H5N6 virus on Monday, authorities said, adding that it was akin to the avian virus plaguing South Korea.

The highly pathogenic H5N6 virus was confirmed in a dead gosling picked up at a farm road in eastern Hualien county, and part of its DNA sequence was 99 per cent the same as the virus tested in South Korea and Japan, Xinhua news agency quoted an official as saying.

The H5N6 virus has been confirmed in 340 farms in South Korea since October and 10 farms in Japan, leading to the culling of at least 34 million fowl, according to the authorities.

The virus has also caused human deaths on the Chinese mainland.

An inspection campaign was initiated by the authorities to track the source of the gosling and strengthen the monitoring of poultry within three kilometers of where the bird was found.

Taiwan is a common destination for migrating birds to spend the winter. It has reported about 12 avian flu cases this year, but all were caused by the H5N2 or H5N8 virus.

The island has warned of the high risks of occurrence of the new strain and urged farms across the island to reinforce safety checks and speedily report the unusual death of animals.