January 26, 2004



Hong Kong Bans Thai Poultry Imports Amid Bird Flu Fears


Hong Kong temporarily suspended live bird and poultry imports from Thailand Friday after reports of two human cases of bird flu in the country.


A Hong Kong government statement said the measure is precautionary while it obtains more information from Thai authorities and international food health officials.


Citing unnamed health ministry officials, Thai television reported Friday two people in different hospitals had tested positive for bird flu.


After days of official denials that bird flu had hit Thai poultry farms, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said earlier Friday that lab testing would "most likely" show that the country is facing an outbreak of the disease.


Hong Kong is on guard for a possible return of bird flu, which crossed over from poultry to humans here in 1997 and claimed six lives, prompting the slaughter of 1.4 million chickens.