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Bird flu virus in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has begun slaughtering 80,000 chickens following he discovery of 3 dead chickens that tested positive for bird flu. Poultry imports have been suspended for 21 days.

"We feel that Hong Kong is facing a new alert for bird flu," said secretary for food and health, York Chow, adding that the chickens, which were on a farm with 60,000 chickens, tested positive for the H5 virus and further tests were being done to see if they had the deadly H5N1 strain.

The farm and neighbouring poultry operations were declared part of an infected zone, and about 80,000 birds in the area would be killed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Chow stated that a 21-day ban on poultry imports would last through the Christmas holiday, a time when chicken is an important dish in celebratory dinners.

Natalie Berkhout

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