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Hong Kong on High Alert for Avian Flu

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  • Hong Kong on High Alert for Avian Flu

    Japanese White-Eye Tested for H5 Virus in HK 2006-2-9 2:56:46

    Preliminary testing of a Japanese White-eye found dead in Mong Kok has indicated a suspected case of H5 avian influenza, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation department (AFCD) said Wednesday.

    The spokesman said that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.
    The carcass was collected by AFCD staff at Diocesan Boy's School following a public referral on Monday.

    As for a suspected case involving a dead Little Egret found in Tuen Mun earlier, the spokesman said the bird was confirmed to have H5N1 virus after a series of laboratory tests.

    People have been reminded to observe good personal hygiene, avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry and clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them.
    (Source: Xinhua)

  • #2
    Hong Kong

    Hong Kong on high alert for avian flu after more bird deaths

    9 February 2006

    HONG KONG - Hong Kong was on high alert on Thursday after another bird suspected to have died of the H5N1 flu virus was found and health officials promised more measures to guard the city against an outbreak.

    Hygiene chiefs said the number of dead birds being submitted for testing had leapt to an average of 100 a day as greater awareness meant more people were reporting carcasses when they found them.

    “Before, cleaners and the general public would have just thrown the carcasses out,” said a spokesman for the agriculture ministry, which is overseeing the city’s bird flu response.

    “With this scare, people are much more alert to dead bead birds,” he added.

    Fears are growing that Hong Kong is on the verge of a bird flu outbreak following the discovery of six dead birds with the virus in the past three weeks.

    Two other birds, including a chicken found in a busy new town street and, on Wednesday night, a wild local species found dead in a school yard in the urban Mong Kok shopping area, were also suspected of having the disease.

    The H5N1 virus has killed at least 88 people since late 2003 in outbreaks that have ravaged Asia and are now menacing eastern Europe.

    The government has said it will ban backyard poultry farming in the territory after a bird flu-infected chicken was smuggled into Hong Kong last week and given to a villager as a gift.

    The chicken later died and three members of the villager’s family were put in hospital isolation for tests, which subsequently proved negative.

    Health chief York Chow also promised to press on with a plan to abolish the sale and slaughter of live chickens in food markets and open a central abattoir in a bid to reduce human contacts with potentially infected poultry.

    Hong Kong was the scene of the world’s first major reported bird flu outbreak among humans, in 1997, when six people died of the then unknown scourge.

    As the virus was quickly traced to chickens and ducks, the outbreak prompted the government to slaughter all the city’s 1.5 million poultry.

    One more person died here of the deadly virus in 2003 after returning from China’s eastern Fujian province.
    "May the long time sun
    Shine upon you,
    All love surround you,
    And the pure light within you
    Guide your way on."

    "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."

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    Mohandas Gandhi

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    • #3
      Re: Hong Kong on high alert for Avian Flu

      The link for the above article:


      • #4
        HK enforces poultry ban in bird flu fight

        HK enforces poultry ban in bird flu fight

        13 Feb 2006 10:48:45 GMT
        Source: Reuters
        Bird flu questions and answers
        FACTBOX: Bird flu threatens to become global pandemic


        By Tan Ee Lyn
        HONG KONG, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Scores of government workers searched rural areas of Hong Kong for poultry on Monday to enforce a ban on backyard fowl to try to stop bird flu taking hold in one of the world's most densely populated cities.

        Jitters have grown in Hong Kong, already on edge following eight deaths from bird flu in China and after six wild birds and two chickens in the territory were killed by the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza in the past three weeks.

        The ban and raids brought tears of despair to bird owners in Hong Kong's rural New Territories, who saw their poultry not only as food, but as pets, too.

        Many sobbed when about 200 government workers wearing surgical caps, masks and protective gowns descended on their homes. They searched 6,000 houses and confiscated a total of 82 chickens, ducks and geese from 12 households.

        In the backyard of Lau Sau-foong's home, the workers had to give chase before they caught her six goslings and two chickens.

        "Whoever says we cannot rear chickens should be ****ed," sobbed Lau, who said she fainted twice from despair on Sunday night.

        "I have treated those geese and chickens like my own children. After I wake up each morning I will feed them. Tell me, aren't they torturing me mentally?"

        Hong Kong has not had any bird flu infections in people since the present outbreak began in Asia in late 2003. But the territory's health chief said earlier this month that H5N1 is probably endemic in the region around Hong Kong.

        Hong Kong's legislature passed last week an emergency law banning backyard poultry farming and officials stressed on Monday that poultry would be culled with no further warning.

        "Chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons and quails are out and not even one can be kept. From today, we will confiscate," said a government spokesman. Under the new law, anyone breaking the ban can be fined up to HK$100,000 (US$12,900).


        The virus has killed at least 90 people in Asia and the Middle East, and forced the culling of millions of birds since late 2003.

        Global fears grew over the weekend after the deadly strain first appeared in the European Union, in swans in Greece and Italy, while Nigeria waited nervously for test results on two children feared to be the first Africans to be infected.

        Most human victims caught the virus directly from birds but experts fear H5N1 could mutate into a form that can spread between people and spark a pandemic, killing millions.

        Hong Kong people are almost fanatical about cooking and consuming only freshly slaughtered poultry and many rural households keep chickens, ducks and geese for their table.

        A census last year found nearly 13,000 ducks and chickens in the territory, with each farmer having an average of seven birds.

        The government is keen to wipe out bird flu from the city where the virus made its first known jump to humans in 1997, killing six people. The spread of the deadly SARS virus to the city from mainland China in 2003 has reinforced the risk.

        A senior government official said workers were collecting evidence and would decide whether or not to prosecute the 12 households that were found with poultry.

        Before the new law, households did not require any licence if they kept fewer than 20 birds.

        AlertNet news is provided by


        • #5
          Mong Kok bird tested for BF

          February 18, 2006 Surveillance
          Mong Kok bird tested for avian flu

          Preliminary testing of a Common Magpie found dead in Mong Kok suggests it could have the H5 avian influenza, the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department says, adding more tests are underway.

          The carcass was collected at the junction of Boundary Street and Flower Market Path following a public referral on February 17.

          All stalls in the Bird Garden in Mong Kok were inspected today, with nothing abnormal found among the pet birds there for sale. The department has maintained close surveillance of pet bird stalls in the garden with daily inspections.

          More than 200 swab samples are collected from local pet bird stalls each month to test for bird flu viruses, including those of the Bird Garden. Test results so far have been negative.

          A dead Common Magpie found in Sham Shui Po earlier was confirmed to have the H5N1 virus.