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Taiwan finds no H7N9 after tests of 8 individuals
Chicken deaths in Changhua County under investigation: Reports
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-04-05 02:32 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Centers for Disease Control on Friday ruled out the H7N9 bird-flu virus had entered Taiwan after testing eight individuals recently returned from China.

A Chinese visitor from Jiangsu Province who felt feverish Thursday was initially quarantined, reports said. Because Jiangsu, along with Shanghai, Zhejiang and Anhui, was one of the areas most affected by the outbreak, the authorities decided to take precautions and test the person for the virus.

Another recent arrival, a Taiwanese businessman returning from Shanghai for the four-day Tomb Sweeping Holiday, reported to hospital after feeling uncomfortable, but after undergoing tests Thursday, he was declared free of H7N9, the CDC said.

China on Friday reported a total of 14 infections and six deaths, an increase of three infections and two deaths compared to Thursday, reports said. Four of the deaths were reported in Shanghai, two in Zhejiang.

Taiwan’s CDC said another six individuals had been tested Thursday, including three Taiwanese nationals and one Chinese citizen who had been diagnosed with H1N1, excluding the possibility of the more dangerous H7N9 virus. Taoyuan County said three citizens who had shown flu symptoms during recent trips to China had not been infected.

The CDC will send a team to China to learn more about human infections with H7N9, Director-General Chang Feng-yee announced Friday, without providing details about the mission. The CDC wrote to its counterpart in China after March 31, when the first cases were reporters, and Chang said he phoned an official there Friday morning to discuss the situation.

The Department of Health on Wednesday raised the level of infections by the H7N9 bird flu to a notifiable disease. As a result, Taiwan was banning people arriving from China from visits to poultry farms.

The counties of Changhua and Yunlin, known for the density of their poultry farms, had ordered tougher preventive measures, including the sanitization of farm installations and restrictions on the entry of visitors and vehicles to farms.

Members of the public in the Changhua County town of Erhlin reportedly called in the health authorities Friday morning after they found 40 dead chickens lying by the side of the road and a further 1,000 birds being buried at a farm across the street. County officials said the case was under investigation.

The frequent exchange of travelers between Taiwan and China and the current April 4-7 Tomb Sweeping Holiday were causing concern about an expansion of the virus to the island, reports said. The authorities said no poultry in Taiwan had been affected yet.

The government has so far not imposed any travel restrictions, and neither has the World Health Organization, but checks at airports have been intensified.

EVA Air Lines said Friday it would not serve chicken meat, poultry or eggs from China on its flights. Each aircraft would also have a sufficient number of surgical masks on board, while disinfection measures would be strengthened, the airline said.

The Ministry of Education said that students returning from the four affected areas in China who showed the symptoms of the flu within seven days should immediately seek medical care. Taiwanese schools in China said no cases involving students had been reported.

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