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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hong Kong : Black-headed gull and peregrine falcon test positive for H5 virus

From Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Preliminary testing of the carcasses of a black-headed gull and a peregrine falcon found in Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan have returned a positive result for the H5 avian influenza virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 6), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

The black-headed gull was collected at Castle Peak Power Station Plant B, Tuen Mun on March 2, while the peregrine falcon was found at Kam Kwai House, Kam Fung Court, Ma On Shan on March 3.

The black-headed gull is a common winter visitor to Hong Kong, while the peregrine falcon is a rare winter visitor.

The spokesman said cleansing and disinfection have been stepped up at the venues, adding that there are no poultry farms within three kilometres of where the dead birds were found.

In view of the cases, 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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