As the temperature drops, Taiwan CDC rallies public and poultry workers in fight against avian flu and influenza A virus infections
Winter is the season for avian influenza, and novel influenza A virus infections have emerged in China in recent years. Due to frequent economic and people-to-people exchanges between Taiwan and China, Taiwan is at a greater risk of infection. On November 13, Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) held a press conference titled “Join the Fight Against Novel Influenza A Virus Infections.” Together with the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), Taiwan CDC urged the public and poultry workers to take precautions against novel influenza A virus infections and avian influenza.
Taiwan CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) pointed out that human infections from avian influenza are rare but can still occur. At the beginning and the end of each year, cross-strait traffic increases as people go on holiday or visit their relatives. People who plan to visit China and China-based Taiwanese businesspeople should monitor their personal hygiene and diet, lower their risk of infection by not eating raw poultry products, avoiding contact with wild birds, and avoiding visiting live poultry markets. For more information about novel influenza A virus infections, sign up for Taiwan CDC’s official LINE chatbot.
BAPHIQ Director-General Feng Hai-tung (馮海東) said poultry workers should implement biosafety measures to prevent contact between poultry and migratory birds. Poultry workers are also asked to actively cooperate with the government’s prevention and control measures so as to effectively prevent avian flu outbreaks and transmission and maintain the biosecurity of the poultry industry. If you find a dead bird in the wild, please do not touch the carcass, check with the epidemic prevention agency in your area for proper procedures.
A video clip of “The Bird Flu Prevention Dance” made by health authorities was also released at the press conference. Interesting dance moves and catchy lyrics in the clip should be able to remind poultry workers to take necessary measures to ward off avian flu. During the event, a poultry worker Mr. Chin (秦) shared his story, saying that he has been working in the poultry industry for many years and believes that implementing biosecurity measures is the only way to guarantee product safety. Poultry workers come into close contact with birds for long periods of time, so Mr. Chin abides by the government’s epidemic prevention policy and gets vaccinated every year. Besides taking personal precautions and carrying out disinfection and environmental management, he inspects the condition of his poultry and closely monitors his own health.
Taiwan CDC urges the public to adhere the “5 Do’s and 6 Don’ts” guidelines to prevent novel influenza A virus infections. The “5 Do’s” include: consume only thoroughly cooked poultry and eggs; wash hands thoroughly with soap; wear a face mask and seek medical attention when symptoms develop; get vaccinated if you have long-term exposure to poultry; eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. The “6 Don’ts” include: don’t consume raw poultry, eggs, or poultry products; don’t smuggle or purchase poultry products from unknown sources; don’t touch or feed migratory birds or poultry; don’t release birds into the wild or randomly abandon them; don’t keep domesticated and wild poultry together; don’t visit poorly ventilated or crowded places. Medical workers who encounter a suspected case should inquire into the patient’s history of travel and contact with affected birds, and promptly notify health authorities. For more information, please visit Taiwan CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov.tw or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline at 1922 (or 0800-001922).
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