The confirmation of tilapia lake virus (TiLV) presence in another fish farm in Taoyuan, Taipei, brings the total number of farming centres affected by the virus to seven since the virus was first reported in the city on June 13.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) informed that all seven infected fish farms are in the Guangyin District and within three kilometres of the first infected site and so the city government has ordered inspections of all ponds within a three-kilometre radius of the site.
Once those inspections are completed, farms within a five-kilometre radius of the site and others in neighbouring Hsinchu will be checked to ensure the virus has not spread.
The COA stressed that although the virus only infects tilapia and there is no risk of it being passed on to humans, it is incurable and is listed as a major infectious disease by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Therefore, the council ordered expanded inspections of 12 brood fish farms upstream of Shihmen Reservoir, which did not find any evidence of the disease, given that if it spread to other parts of Taiwan, it could jeopardize the country's tilapia industry.
In addition, inspections of two fish farms near a farm in Tainan from which the infected tilapia fry were sourced also came up negative, as did inspections of 147 fish farms within one kilometer of the Tainan farm, according to the COA.
So far, the results indicated that the virus is confined to Taoyuan and has not spread to other parts of Taiwan.
The infected farms are banned from transporting any living creatures from their premises for two weeks.
The virus was first discovered in Israel in 2009 when up to 70 per cent of the wild fish population of a natural lake died. Taiwan is the sixth country to report the virus, after Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel and Thailand.
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