CDC confirms H5N2 antibodies in poultry workers

The Centers for Disease Control in Taiwan has confirmed that three poultry workers and officials working in animal quarantine have tested positive for H5N2 avian influenza antibodies.

Chou Jih-haw, the deputy director-general of the CDC, said that all three people are healthy and that none have developed any symptoms of the avian flu. Jih-haw said that there is no public health risk of transmitting the avian flu between humans, the China Post reports.

While the workers may have developed the antibodies from being in contact with the H5N2 strain, the antibodies may have also developed due to cross-reactivity after the three received flu vaccinations last year and H5N1 vaccinations in March or April.

On March 3, Taiwan confirmed the first highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza outbreak. Outbreaks occurred on chicken farms in the Nantou and Changhua counties in addition to in the city of Tainan. More than 75,000 chickens were killed to prevent the avian influenza from spreading.

Inspections have been conducted at 14,424 chicken farms and 476 are being monitored. If the investigators find no new cases of H5N2 flu, it is likely that the outbreak has run its course, Focus Taiwan reports.

Huang Kwo-ching, an animal quarantine official, addressed public concerns over the case at a press conference. He cited a statement by the World Health Organization that said the H5N2 flu can only spread between birds and does not cause disease in humans.