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Chicken Deaths in China Not from Bird Flu

by 5m Editor
12 April 2005, at 12:00am

HONG KONG - More than 200 chickens died over the past week at a farm in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, but health authorities in nearby Hong Kong said the cause was not the deadly bird flu virus.

Chicken Deaths in China Not from Bird Flu - HONG KONG - More than 200 chickens died over the past week at a farm in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, but health authorities in nearby Hong Kong said the cause was not the deadly bird flu virus.

Hong Kong's Health, Welfare and Food Bureau said it had been told by Chinese health authorities that the chickens had been infected by a common respiratory tract disease that posed no threat to humans.

Chinese authorities tested remaining chickens at the farm for the H5N1 bird flu virus, but the samples came back negative. As a precaution, however, some 8,000 chickens at the same farm were slaughtered, a Hong Kong government spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Hong Kong, where the H5N1 virus made the first known jump to humans in 1997 and killed six people, is on constant alert for the bird flu. Chickens from southern China which are destined for Hong Kong are all vaccinated against the disease.

Fifty-one people have died in Asia since the disease swept across parts of the region at the end of 2003.

Tens of millions of fowl have died of bird flu or been slaughtered in a so far vain attempt to kill off the virus, which the World Health Organization says is now endemic in parts of southeast Asia.

The WHO says the virus has the potential to mutate into a form that could pass easily between humans and cause a pandemic in which millions of people could die.

Source: Reuters - 12th April 2005

5m Editor