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Hong Kong: Peregrine Falcon tested for H5 virus

Hong Kong – Preliminary testing of a Peregrine Falcon found in Ma Wan had indicated a suspected case of H5 avian influenza, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 11), adding that further confirmatory tests were being conducted.

The sick bird was found and collected on March 8 in the bushes near Pak Lai Road, Park Island, Ma Wan. It died on the same day. Peregrine Falcon is a scarce resident and winter visitor to Hong Kong.

The spokesman said there were no chicken farms within three kilometres of where the bird was found.

“In view of this case, the AFCD will phone poultry farmers reminding them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters will be issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners, licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.”

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

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) will continue to be vigilant over imported live poultry as well as live poultry stalls. It will also remind stall operators to maintain good hygiene.

The Department of Health will keep up its health education and distribute health advice leaflets.

AFCD, FEHD, the Customs and Excise Department and the Police will strive to deter the illegal import of poultry and birds into Hong Kong to minimise the risk of avian influenza outbreaks brought by imported poultry and birds that had not gone through inspection and quarantine.

The spokesman said the threat of avian influenza remained. The relevant departments will remain vigilant and continue to take preventive and control measures against avian influenza.

Members of the public are reminded to observe good personal hygiene. They should avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry and their droppings. They should clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them. Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.

MET: 2018-07-17 07:07:58