November 23, 2005

 

Hong Kong bans poultry imports from two more Chinese regions


 

Hong Kong has banned poultry imports from the Chinese regions of Ningxia and Yunnan after bird flu outbreaks were confirmed there.

 

The ban came as the Chinese official press said the disease killed a combined 2,730 birds in the western and southern regions earlier this month.

 

China also reported a new outbreak in far western Xinjiang, which killed 38 birds, but Hong Kong had already stopped poultry shipments from the region after earlier outbreaks there, the local government said in a statement late Tuesday.

 

Of the three regions, Hong Kong only imported a small amount of frozen poultry from Ningxia.

 

Hong Kong has been spared from the latest round of bird flu cases in Asia, but it has been wary of diseases spreading there from the neighboring mainland, a path followed by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). SARS ended up killing 299 people there after surfacing in 2003.

 

The latest outbreaks in China brought the total in recent weeks to 20, with new reports almost daily.

 

Experts feared that the H5N1 virus could mutate into a form that could be easily passed from human to human, sparking a pandemic.