[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Hong Kong culls chickens amid bird flu fears

About 20,000 chickens to be killed, and imports of fresh poultry banned for 21 days, after discovery of H7N9 virus.

Last updated: 28 Jan 2014 19:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Authorities have ordered the closure of the wholesale poultry market where the virus was discovered [AFP]

Hong Kong has begun culling 20,000 chickens and has suspended imports of fresh poultry from mainland China for 21 days after the discovery of the H7N9 bird flu virus in a batch of live chickens from the southern province of Guangdong.

The government order took effect on Tuesday, two days before celebrations begin for Chinese New Year, when poultry sellers generally anticipate a boom.

Authorities also ordered the closure of the wholesale poultry market, where the virus was discovered, until February 18 for cleaning and disinfection.

Local farms were banned from supplying live chickens to the market.

"Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department officers will inspect all the local chicken farms and collect more samples for testing to ensure that local farms are not affected by H7 avian influenza," Dr Ko Wing-man, secretary for food and health, said in a statement.

The H7N9 virus passes between birds, but cases in humans have so far not shown evidence of sustained human-to-human infection, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Health warning 

Experts have urged health authorities worldwide to be alert in detecting the H7N9 virus.

Two people infected with H7N9 bird flu have died in Hong Kong and a third patient is being treated.

All three were infected during visits to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The H7N9 bird flu virus emerged in March last year and has so far infected at least 240 people in China, Taiwan and Hong
Kong, according to the Hong Kong Department of Health.

China's official Xinhua news agency, citing the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said 19 people had died of the flu in China this year.

China's Health and Family Planning Commission reported a further nine cases of H7N9 bird flu to the WHO on Sunday and Monday.

Hong Kong last suspended live poultry imports in 2011 after a dead chicken tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu
at the same market.

322

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.