HONG KONG - An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been discovered in Hong Kong's Diamond Hill area.
The virus was found in a dead Great Egret, as part of an intensive surveillance effort.
Laboratory tests confirmed the bird was infected with the H5N6 strain of the virus.
The dead bird was found and collected from a non-public area near Spring Hill in the Nan Lian Garden, Diamond Hill, Wong Tai Sin, last Thursday (December 31). The great egret is a common resident of Hong Kong and some are winter visitors.
The spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said cleaning and disinfection have been stepped up at the venue, adding that there are no poultry farms within 3 kilometres of where the dead bird was found.
In view of the case, the AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.
The spokesman said the department would conduct frequent inspections of poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented. The department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance.
"People should avoid contact with wild birds and live poultry and their droppings. They should clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them. The public can call 1823 for follow-up if they come across suspicious, sick or dead birds, including the carcasses of wild birds and poultry," the spokesman said.ThePoultrySite News Desk