Several ducks found dead in Bihu Park in Taipei's Neihu District on Wednesday last week were infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus subtype H5, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed yesterday, adding that the virus is being examined to identify if it is the H5N6 strain, which can infect humans.
The ducks were found by passers by, the Taipei Animal Protection Office said, adding that it notified the Animal Health Research Institute, which collected the dead birds and conducted tests on them. Preventive measures, such as washing and disinfection, were immediately taken within a 3km radius of the spot where the birds were found, and two poultry farms near the park were inspected, the office said, adding that the Taipei Park Administration Office yesterday increased the number of personnel patroling the parks in the city.
The Animal Protection Office urged people to avoid feeding or coming into contact with birds, and not to pick up dead birds call, but to call city's 1999 hotline to report a case.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo said that although the high-risk area in and around the park has been disinfected, people should not touch the soil and stay clear of the pond in the park, and thoroughly wash their hands with soap after visiting the park.
People should not panic about dead birds found in parks, but they should not feed birds or touch bird droppings, especially during the bird flu season, Lo said.
The Taipei Department of Health said it will monitor the condition of five people who came in contact with the dead ducks until March 20, Lo added.
The Taipei Department of Environmental Protection yesterday said people who feed wild birds and cause environmental pollution could face a fine of between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000 if they do not stop feeding the animals after an initial warning.