Taiwan protects pig farms from AI
Taiwan is covering its pig farms with nets to prevent
migratory birds from infecting pigs with the H5N1 Avian Influenza (AI)
The island is visited by many birds escaping the harsh Siberian
Each autumn they migrate to Taiwan, for instance across the East coast of
China, which has suffered at least 14 human deaths from the AI
virus since 2003.
Taiwan has not reported any human cases of H5N1, but some fowl from China
tested positive in 2005.
Although pigs cannot transfer AI, several Asian pigs have been found to
carry H5N1. This is a concern because the animals could act as 'mixing vessels',
in which genetic material from AI could swap genes with human influenza viruses,
potentially creating new strains.
Taiwan's cabinet allocated US $30 million toward plastic and steel netting
to cover the island's 20,000 both poultry and pig farms.
Farm owners are expected to cover half their costs.
The first farms to get the nets were those near marshes and swamps where
migratory birds settle.
Taiwan has also set up ten stations to monitor migratory birds and created
an alert system to be activated if any of the bird is found to be carrying
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