Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) has declared an outbreak of the H5N2 strain of avian influenza on a farm in its central county Changhua and Tainan City.
The ban on the country’s poultry product exports could incur losses of around NT$600 (US$20.3m), the COA said.
Taiwan’s poultry meat alone is worth NT$360 – NT$370 (US$12.2m – US$12.5m), Hsu Kuei-sen, director of the COA’s animal husbandry division said.
The ban also includes, preserved eggs, salted duck eggs, raw eggs and pet birds.
Exports will only resume following a 3 month period clear of the virus, the COA added.
It was reported that on Saturday that approximately 58,000 birds had been culled from farms in both areas in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.
The World Organisation of Animal Health has also been informed, the COA said.
Officials have been quick to differentiate this strain of avian influenza from the H5N1 which is dangerous to humans.
According to media reports, the virus was first suspected in December 2011 and there has been speculation that the COA tried to ‘cover up’ the outbreak; an accusation that has been firmly denied by the council.
Dips in shares
In the wake of the announcement, two of the country’s largest chicken producers saw dips in their share value following the outbreak confirmation. Shares in Charoen Pokphand fell 5.69% and shares in Great Wall fell 3.73%.
Shares in Taiwan’s overall market have also been dragged down by 1.35% in the wake of the avian flu outbreak.
In January 2012, Australia gassed 25,000 ducks amid bird flu fears to protect its A$2.5bn poultry industry. Birds in Australia tested positive for a low pathogenic H5 subtype avian influenza.
In light of this outbreak Japan placed a ban on all poultry product imports from Australia.