Hong Kong to cull 15,000 chickens over bird flu

Hong Kong to cull 15,000 chickens over bird flu

Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:52PM GMT

Hong Kong authorities have announced that they will slaughter thousands of chickens in an effort to prevent an outbreak of bird flu in the city.

Authorities will cull 15,000 chickens following the discovery of the deadly H7N9 virus in poultry imported from mainland China,” Hong Kong’s Health Minister Ko Wing-man said Wednesday morning.

“The department will take measures to destroy a total of 15,000 number of live chickens at the Cheung Sha Wan market starting this morning,” Ko told reporters.

The facility will then be closed for three weeks for “comprehensive disinfection,” Ko said, adding that imports from the mainland have been suspended.

A batch of chickens imported from the nearby Chinese city of Huizhou tested positive for the virus through a “rapid testing” program.

The tests were carried out after a previous batch of chickens from the same area tested positive for the H7 strain of the virus.

Hong Kong has announced it was raising its response level in hospitals to “serious” from “alert” with extra precautions implemented from Sunday in response to a new case of the virus – the city’s first since early 2014.

On December 25, a 68-year-old woman was hospitalized in Hong Kong after arriving from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen almost two weeks earlier.

Three out of 10 people diagnosed with the H7N9 in Hong Kong have died so far. All have contracted the virus from mainland China, according to Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection.

In January, Hong Kong slaughtered 20,000 chickens after the virus was found in poultry imported from the Chinese southern province of Guangdong.

Meanwhile, authorities in Japan started culling another 37,000 chickens in the west of the country on Tuesday after tests confirmed a highly pathogenic strain of H5 avian influenza.

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