Monday, February 18, 2013

Taiwan free of H1N1 virus: COA

Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) The influenza A (H1N1) virus that has left more than 100 people dead in India since January has not been detected in animals in Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Monday.

The flu strain, which carries both avian and swine influenza virus genes, has not been found in migrant birds or in any fowl in Taiwan, said Huang Kuo-ching, deputy director-general of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.

"We have consistently kept a close eye on avian flu," Huang said, "Despite the presence of the H1N1 virus in poultry, it is not the strain that has caused the outbreak in India," Huang said.

The new strain of H1N1 virus, most commonly known as swine flu, caused a global pandemic in 2009 and has shown signs of returning in India.

The country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed over the weekend that there have been 708 confirmed swine flu cases across India since January and that 132 people have succumbed to the infection.

In the Delhi area alone, 154 H1N1 cases have been reported, with four deaths, the Indian health ministry said.

(By Yang Shu-min and Sofia Wu) 

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