December 12, 2008


Hong Kong unsure of smuggled eggs on bird flu outbreak


Hong Kong's government authorities are still investigating if fertilised eggs smuggled from China are the source of the bird flu outbreak in the country, as what was earlier claimed by chicken traders.


Chicken traders who were hit by the three-week import ban on live chickens said eggs from mainland China caused the bird flu in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's health secretary York Chow said nothing suspicious was found but pledged to investigate further.


But some bird flu experts thought otherwise. Leo Poon, a microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong said chickens that contract H5N1 would almost certainly stop laying eggs.  Poon did not however rule out the possibility that the surfaces of eggs may be contaminated with faeces containing the virus.


Hong Kong, a former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has so far killed over 75,000 chickens at the affected farm and a wholesale market since Tuesday (Dec 9), with further precautionary culling in the vicinity of the affected farm.

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