Hong Kong enforces poultry ban in bird flu fight

HONG KONG - Scores of government workers searched rural areas of Hong Kong for poultry 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, which is 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.

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.

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 that poultry would be culled with no further warning.

Source: SABCNews
calendar icon 13 February 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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