ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Hong Kong Prepared for H5N1

by 5m Editor
28 February 2008, at 11:40am

HONG KONG - Following the confirmation of the suspected human case of avian influenza H5N1 in Haifeng, Shanwei in Guangdong Province by the Ministry of Health, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government ( HKSARG ) would from today ( February 26 ) suspend live poultry import and their products from the zone of 13-kilometre radius of possible source of infection for 21 days.

Hong Kong Prepared for H5N1 HONG KONG - Following the confirmation of the suspected human case of avian influenza H5N1 in Haifeng, Shanwei in Guangdong Province by the Ministry of Health, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government ( HKSARG ) would from today ( February 26 ) suspend live poultry import and their products from the zone of 13-kilometre radius of possible source of infection for 21 days.

The Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, said, "It is understood that the deceased patient did not leave the place of her onset during the incubation period. She is believed to have contracted the illness through eating or contacting sick and dead poultry. Initial investigation indicates there is no sign of human-to-human transmission. We are of the view that the above-mentioned arrangement is appropriate."

"We will adopt the same measure if similar human cases of avian influenza is found in Guangdong Province in the future. The measure has made reference to the latest guidelines set by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and World Organisation for Animal Health. We have informed our Mainland counterparts of the arrangement," he added.

According to the guidelines, one to five kilometre radius of the case where avian influenza is found are known as the infected area, two to 10 kilometre radius of the infected area are grouped as the control area. Control and preventive measures are to be adopted within three to 15 kilometre radius of the infected area to prevent the spread of the disease. After assessing the control and prevention of avian influenza and the related inspection and quarantine measures in Guangdong Province, HKSARG decided to set the total zone for the infected area and control area at 13 kilometre radius.

The State General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau had imposed stringent biosecurity measures on registered live poultry farms for supply to Hong Kong to reduce the risk of avian influenza outbreak. Live poultry had to receive vaccination and were checked that they had enough antibodies before being sent to Hong Kong. Avian influenza found in non-registered farms or backyard poultry would pose a relatively lower risk to Hong Kong as they were not for export to Hong Kong.

Dr Chow appealed to the public not to bring live poultry to Hong Kong illegally. He stressed that the top priority of the Government was to protect public health.

The Government and the relevant Mainland authorities would closely monitor the situation. Various Government departments in Hong Kong had stepped up control and public education on avian influenza.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department ( FEHD ) had fielded staff to inspect registered live poultry farms for supply to Hong Kong in east Guangdong.

There is no registered live poultry farm for supply to Hong Kong in Shanwei, and registered chilled or frozen poultry processing plant for supply to Hong Kong in Shanwei.

The Centre for Food Safety had stepped up inspection and quarantine on avian influenza virus test for live poultry import from the Mainland, with dropping test increased from six batches a day to 12 batches a day. On top of this, 18 blood samples would be taken from each consignment of live poultry for testing of antibodies. The Centre would also conduct strict surveillance on chilled poultry, with health certificate of every consignment of chilled poultry being checked at Man Kam To control point. Poultry meat would also be checked and samples taken for inspection when necessary.

The Department of Health ( DH ) has put in place a four-week Enhanced Pneumonia Surveillance Programme under which H5 test would be conducted by all public and private hospitals for people who developed pneumonia with unknown etiology within seven days after visiting places where human case of avian influenza was reported in the past six months. The department would distribute health information leaflets and display health messages at all immigration control points.

DH has informed the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council of the relevant situation and provided health advice to travel agencies accordingly.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department ( AFCD ) and FEHD have stepped up inspection on local poultry farms, wholesale and retail markets. AFCD, FEHD and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will increase checks on country parks, streets and parks, and arrange cleansing promptly when droppings are found. The Customs and Excise Department also stepped up surveillance at all the boundary control points of illegal import of poultry.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

5m Editor