Mike Coston is the Owner/Editor of Avian Flu Diary

The evidence with HPAI H5N8 and H5N2 has been – that, despite being cousins to some pretty nasty H5 viruses (H5N1, H5N6) – neither has shown the ability to infect, or sicken, humans.

Taiwan map/CIA
Taiwan map/CIA

That said, we have seen some studies suggesting there may have been  a few subclinical H5N2 human infections in Taiwan a few years back, and last spring Korea discovered a number of dogs with antibodies to H5N8.

But so far, no symptomatic human cases have been reported with either subtype

The concern of course is that influenza viruses are constantly changing, and so their observed behavior in the past is not guaranteed to hold true in the future.

Today Taiwan announced the detection of H5N8, along with a supposedly `never-seen-before’ strain of H5N2 (see Taiwan Reports H5N8 On Goose Farm and `New Strain’ Of H5N2), and since they are dealing with new (or relatively new) viral strains, an abundance of caution is warranted.

Taiwan’s CDC  has issued a statement, as has the City of Taipai’s Health Department, urging people to exercise caution around live poultry, and advising anyone working with poultry who develops symptoms of influenza to immediately seek medical care.

These machine translations are a bit kludgy, but they leave no doubt that the local health departments are taking these outbreaks seriously.

Press release

Domestic poultry farms although outgoing H5N2, H5N8 avian flu is a new virus, there is no birds-to-human transmission case (2015-01-11)

Southern domestic duck and geese farms concerned outgoing H5N2, H5N8 avian flu outbreaks, although global has not yet spread human cases of infection, disease control programme according to the new Handbook of type a influenza epidemic prevention and control work in the “guidelines on prevention of influenza outbreaks in animals personnel” as standard operating procedure, close monitoring of poultry farms, health epidemic prevention personnel. But due to the discovery of H5N2 H5N8 for domestic first new strain, which occurred in January 2014 and 3 HA cut points and South Korea (birds, ducks and wild ducks) sequences of more than 96% Similarly, CDC Department of the future will also be conducted on relevant contacts seroepidemiological survey, conduct a follow-up investigation of the effects of the new virus.

According to the Council of agriculture issued H5N8 and H5N2 avian influenza viruses detected, in view of the two viruses are similar to January 2014 found virus in South Korea, are the highly pathogenic virus; Japan in April outbreak, China in October, Germany and the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in November also poultry disease is transmitted, in December, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States have been found with the virus. The World Health Organization says, did not rule out are among the migratory birds spread the virus from Asia to Europe, and anticipation of future possible poultry outbreaks in more countries.

CDC also calls for, in the event of avian influenza outbreaks in poultry farms of relevant staff, during the self-health management, such as acute respiratory infection symptoms appear, should take the initiative to notify the local health board to assist medical care.

Addition, people also through following measures prevention infection avian influenza: including keep indoor air circulation, and service wash, not mess touch mouth, and nasal and the eyes, and not purchased or feeding sources unknown or smuggling of poultry bird, and poultry meat and the egg class Che late Cook cooked only can edible, and cuisine born fresh poultry livestock meat products and the egg class Hou immediately wash, tool, and chopping block also to Che late cleaning Hou to again using.

Once people developed fever, cough, runny nose, sneezing, muscle pain, flu-like symptoms such as headaches, and extreme tiredness, should wear a mask for medical treatment as soon as possible and take the initiative to inform the contact history, work and travel for the benefit of physicians in medical and communications. The latest outbreak and other related information, see the CDC website (http://www.CDC.gov.TW) or by calling toll-free notification and concern to public hotline 1922 (or 0800-001922) to contact.

Taipei City Government Health Bureau January 11

unidentified birds against avian influenza, do not buy, do not support, do not touch, poultry products should be cooked,”

Press Release 11 January 2015

for the domestic chicken farm in southern Outgoing H5N2, H5N8 bird flu, the Taipei City Government Department of Health Bureau of Disease Control, said there were only two kinds of virus infected birds, according to the survey world, mankind has yet to determine the case, but still called for raising poultry industry and the public

My friends, in order to safeguard their health, personal hygiene should be strengthened, and pay attention to meat, eggs should be cooked; unidentified birds, do not buy, do not support, do not touch, such as preventive measures.

Director Chen Shaoqing Disease Control Department, said health authorities in response to this incident, today (11th) morning went to South Central Wholesale Poultry Market staff for high-risk bird flu prevention advocacy, and ask the staff to wear masks to protect the health ; Health Bureau to take care of the health of poultry workers, have been implemented since October 28 102 years the medical staff for consultation services, and with the work of staff time, every Friday 22:00 to 12:00 there is a healthy demand for work who see the doctor, has a total of 14 people for treatment, such as time outside consultation for medical care card holders can also go to the designated hospitals free registration fee and some burden.

Taipei City Health Bureau said it had jurisdiction Circular medical institutions to strengthen informed physicians, infectious disease prevention and control strain Hospital (JMS Peace School District) and all designated isolation hospital preparedness has completed a total of Taipei City Hospital and 16 strains of infectious diseases designated isolation hospital, has reserves sufficient amount of gowns, masks, publicly funded influenza antiviral agents are in safety stock, ready to respond to the epidemic, to ensure public health.

Taipei City Health Bureau said that poultry products do not have to worry too much about the safety of the general cooking process (each part was heated to 70 ° C or more) can make the bird flu virus to the activity, poultry and eggs should be cooked, It should be noted when handling and cooking raw food preparation cooked separately at any time during the hand-washing and other measures to prevent contamination of food containers, can be effective against avian influenza. 

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