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Bird Flu Cull Moves Over Marketplace

by 5m Editor
12 June 2008, at 12:56p.m.

HONG KONG - Health authorities in Hong Kong announced on Wednesday that they would slaughter all live chickens in the retail markets following further reported cases of H5N1 infections among the poultry on the market.

The decision came after faeces samples taken from markets at Tuen Mun, Fanling and Ap Lei Chau tested positive for the deadly H5N1 virus, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said.

"We have announced that all market stores and fresh provision shops selling live poultry are now infected areas," said department director Cheung Siu-hing.

Cheung said local authorities had launched the culling on all the chickens across about 470 stores in 64 markets throughout the city. It is estimated that the culling involves 3,500 chickens.

The culling was presently restricted to chickens in the retail markets. The chicken farms in the special administrative region were not affected.

Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said samples taken by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation from local chicken farms so far all tested negative for the H5N1 strain of the virus, adding that sound bio-security measures had been in place on most of the farms, making them relatively safe.

No genetic changes found in bird flu virus

There are no genetic changes in the H5N1 bird flu virus found at Po On Road Market, Secretary for Food & Health Dr York Chow says, adding more test results on samples collected from the retail market will be announced today.

Speaking to reporters after appearing on radio programmes today, Dr Chow said the Government has sent specialists to inspect both local and Mainland poultry farms and no abnormality has been detected. Poultry on the wholesale market and passing through Man Kam To have tested negative for the virus.

"The only abnormality we have detected is in the retail market. But there will be more results coming from the egg inoculation tests from the retail market later today. We hope with those results coming out, we can have a clearer picture of the extent of the problem. If any of these additional tests show positive results, we need to take action immediately."

Chicken cull

When asked why the Government allowed retailers to sell the chickens Monday he said it was not a political decision and the Government followed existing guidelines.

"If we find there is one retail site that has avian influenza, we will just cull (chickens in) that site. But if we have more than one site, then we will have a suspicion it will have spread. Then of course we have more justification to cull all the chickens. Up to last Monday, there is only site we have discovered to have the H5 virus."

On chicken smuggling, Dr Chow urged the trade to report any suspected cases.

Further Reading

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

5m Editor