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Friday, February 10, 2012

Hong Kong : Grey heron tests positive for H5 virus

Press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Preliminary testing of a dead grey heron found in Yuen Long has tested positive for the H5 avian influenza virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (February 10), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

The carcass of the grey heron was found and collected in grassland near Shan Pui River, Nam Sang Wai Road, Yuen Long, on February 8. The grey heron is a common winter visitor.

The spokesman said that two chicken farms are within three kilometres of where the bird was found. AFCD staff inspected the farms and found no abnormal mortality or symptoms of avian influenza among the chicken flocks. These farms will be put under enhanced surveillance.

In view of the case, the AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.

The spokesman said the department would conduct frequent inspections of poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented. The department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance."

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