December 26, 2011


Hong Kong strengthens bird flu surveillance


Out of the 17,000 birds culled on Wednesday at Hong Kong's Cheung Sha Wan Poultry Wholesale market, none tested positive for bird flu, Health Secretary York Chow said Friday (Dec 23).


No local poultry workers have been found to have been infected either.


At this stage, authorities still do not know where the dead chicken came from.


"According to the information gathered from the mainland, they do not have any abnormalities in the mainland farms that supply to Hong Kong as well. So we cannot conclude if this is a bird that came from the mainland or Hong Kong," said Chow.


Two new measures will be put into place, he added.


First, the government is setting up a system for collecting dead birds at the wholesale poultry market.


Second, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department will be on duty 24-hours-a-day to gather information from traders about dead birds.


The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said it has yet to receive any reports of avian flu cases on the mainland.


The ministry is coordinating with the quarantine departments to prevent the flu from spreading.


It is also ordering vets in Guangzhou and Shenzhen - cities nearest to Hong Kong - to prepare for emergencies and strengthen surveillance.


Hong Kong has occasionally detected bird flu in poultry, but there have been no major outbreaks since 1997, when the virus killed six people and led to the slaughter of 1.5 million birds in the territory.

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