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Hong Kong Bird Flu

December 21, 2011 by staff 

Hong Kong Bird FluHong Kong Bird Flu, Hong Kong culled 19,451 birds and banned the sale and import of live poultry until Jan. 12 after the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus was found in a chicken carcass at a wholesale market.

The 30 chicken farms in Hong Kong were tested, with all samples free of avian influenza, the city government said in a press release yesterday evening. The Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department will conduct further testing.

Hong Kong takes a tough line on the highly pathogenic strain of flu virus, first recorded in humans in the city in 1997 and which has since spread through Asia, Europe and Africa, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of birds and killing more than half of the people that caught it. The city of 7 million people was also hit by an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003 in which 299 people died.

“Hong Kong has the best H5N1 contingency plan to be found in any part of the world,” said Yuen Kwok-yung, chairman of infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong’s department of microbiology. “We should not panic. Every winter there is increased H5N1 activity in poultry and migratory birds.”

In 1997, the government ordered all poultry in Hong Kong to be culled. Many families in rural areas kept chickens in back- yard wood-and-wire hutches that can still be seen lying empty and rusting in villages across the territory. Ducks, geese and pigeons are also widely eaten in Hong Kong.

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