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H5 Virus Suspected in Three Dead Birds

by 5m Editor
6 February 2009, at 7:33am

HONG KONG - Preliminary tests on three bird carcasses collected in recent days indicate H5 avian influenza infection, the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department says. More tests are being conducted on the grey heron, peregrine falcon and chicken.

The dead heron was collected at Mai Po Nature Reserve on 2 February. There is a chicken farm within 3km of the location. The department has sent staff to inspect the farm and found no abnormal mortality or symptoms of avian influenza. The farm will be put under enhanced surveillance.

As a precautionary measure Mai Po Nature Reserve will temporarily close to visitors for three weeks.

On 3 February department staff collected the falcon near Long Beach Gardens, Tsuen Wan, and the chicken at Butterfly Beach, Tuen Mun.

More Dead Birds Discovered

Two more dead chickens were found at Lung Kwu Tan, Tuen Mun, today. Tests are being arranged.

Of the 20 bird carcasses collected on Lantau 1-4 February, preliminary tests found three chickens and two ducks had the H5 virus and more tests are being conducted. A duck was confirmed to be H5N1 positive, seven birds tested negative, and results on the remaining seven are pending.

Department staff also collected a dead chicken and duck in San Shek Wan, and they will soon be tested.

The department inspected 169 villages and found two live chickens illegally kept by a man at Ng Ka Tsuen, Pat Heung. He will be prosecuted for unauthorised keeping of poultry.

During the inspection one live chicken in San Uk Tsuen, Fanling, and five live pigeons in Kam Sheung Road, Pat Heung, were found unattended. After taking samples for tests the birds were destroyed.

No Significant Virus Mutation

Secretary for Food & Health Dr York Chow said the carcasses found on Lantau may have drifted down from the Pearl River.

"In the three carcasses in which we have isolated the virus, the preliminary discovery is that it is related to a similar type of virus that happened in the southern part of China in the last two years. It is certain that there is no significant mutation of the virus."

He said the threat of avian flu continues and people should remain vigilant and not approach sick or unfamiliar poultry.

Further Reading

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