H5N1 found in Hong Kong Market

HONG KONG - Hong Kong health authorities closed down a poultry market here Saturday after excrement samples collected from hencoops at the marketplace were confirmed infected with the deadly strain of H5N1 avian influenza virus, writes Du Guodong, Xinhua.
calendar icon 7 June 2008
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Dr. York Chow, Secretary for Food and Health, announced at a press conference here Saturday afternoon that the Po On Road Market in Kowloon an infected area of the H5N1 virus and ordered the immediate suspension of trading in the market.

Chow said after days of laboratory testings, five of the 20 excrement samples collected from three poultry stores on June 3 were confirmed H5N1 positive and an order was issued immediately to cull about 2,700 chickens in the market.

"We are still investigating the source of the H5N1 virus infections," he said, adding other 64 poultry markets had reported no H5N1 cases.

Chow said there has been no report of human case of H5N1 infections but the department had decided to raise the response level from "vigilance" to "serious" in the city.

In response to the latest H5N1 virus find, Chow said, the Food and Health Department had suspended immediately the live poultry imports from the Chinese mainland and trading from local chicken farms will be suspended immediately

He said such suspension will last for as long as 21 days if necessary.

Chow said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government had noticed the Ministry of Agriculture and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine on the latest development of bird flu in Hong Kong.

Chow said there had been no unusual incidents reported in the registered chicken farm in the Chinese mainland and none abnormal death of poultry had been reported by store owners during the past days.

Thomas Tsang, Controller of the Center for Health Protection, said the center would conduct health checkups and prescribe anti- virus medicine for those people in close contact with live poultry.

Tsang also called on doctors in the city to quickly report suspected cases of H5N1 infection to the center once they diagnose those patients with a fever.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said they would strengthen the testing of live poultry on the bird flu virus and disinfecting of poultry whole sale markets.
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