News 2582 views update:Mar 9, 2016

Hong Kong culls infected birds and bans imports

Over 19,000 chickens from mainland China have been slaughtered, a wholesale market has been closed and imports of live poultry have been banned after tests found some birds in Hong Kong were infected with a strain of bird flu.

The H7N9 strain of the avian influenza virus was found in some birds originating from a farm in Huizhou, in Guangdong Province in southern China. Sales of all live chickens in Hong Kong might be banned if wholesalers do not step up measures to control bird flu, the city's secretary for food and health, Ko Wing-man, has announced.

"The department will conduct inspections as well as collect additional samples from all the 29 registered live chicken farms in Hong Kong to ensure that they are not affected by H7 influenza," Ko said.

Many people in Hong Kong buy pork and poultry from wet markets, unrefrigerated open-air shops that sell freshly slaughtered animals. Much of the city's food supply comes from farms in mainland China, though in the case of chickens, the supply is segregated from birds bound for mainland markets.

Avian influenza outbreaks have not been confined to China. In recent weeks, Hong Kong has banned poultry imports from certain regions of Japan, Germany, Italy and Canada after bird flu strains were detected there.

Source: New York Times

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