Published Date: 2011-12-24 10:49:56
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza (80): China (HK) H5N1, poultry, wild bird
Archive Number: 20111224.3666
AVIAN INFLUENZA (80): CHINA (HK) H5N1, POULTRY, WILD BIRD
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2011
Source: Today Online (Singapore) [edited]
HK finds second case of bird flu
The Hong Kong authorities say a 2nd dead bird in a week [but 3rd in a
fortnight; see comment] has tested positive for a dangerous strain of
bird flu, raising health concerns in the city.
The agricultural department said yesterday that lab tests confirmed an
Oriental magpie robin found dead on 17 Dec 2011 in the New Territories
was infected with H5N1 avian influenza.
This type of robin is commonly found in Hong Kong.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong raised its alert level to "serious" after a
chicken at a wholesale market tested positive for bird flu. A total of
19 451 birds, including more than 15 000 chickens, were culled as a
But Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said none of the birds
culled had tested positive for the disease. No local poultry workers
have been found to be infected either.
"According to the information gathered from the mainland, they do not
have any abnormalities in the mainland farms that supply to Hong Kong
so we cannot conclude if this is a bird that came from the mainland or
Hong Kong. We have checked all the farms, and all the places that
would have chickens ... I can only say that we are safer than what we
suspected earlier on."
The government said 2 new measures will be put in place as a
It will set up a system for collecting dead birds at the wholesale
poultry market. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
will also be on duty 24 hours a day to gather information from traders
about dead birds.
"Hong Kong has the best H5N1 contingency plan to be found in any part
of the world," said Dr Yuen Kwok-yung, chairman of infectious diseases
at the University of Hong Kong's department of microbiology. "We
should not panic. Every winter there is increased H5N1 activity in
poultry and migratory birds."
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said it has ordered veterinarians
in Guangzhou and Shenzhen - cities nearest to Hong Kong - to prepare
for emergencies and strengthen surveillance.
[Hong Kong's authorities have submitted to the OIE a notification
concerning 2 outbreaks of H5N1 on 23 Dec 2011; see, with map, at
The notification includes the following description of the 'affected
1. An Oriental Magpie Robin (_Copsychus saularis_) was collected on 17
Dec 2011 at Tin Shui Wai. The Oriental Magpie Robin is a common local
resident in Hong Kong".
2. A chicken carcass tested positive for highly pathogenic H5N1 avian
influenza virus during regular surveillance on 20 Dec 2011.
The following epidemiological comments were included:
"An intensive surveillance system is in place for all poultry farms,
poultry markets and pet bird shops in Hong Kong. The H5N1 infected
wild bird was detected in ongoing surveillance program on wild birds.
The date of the outbreak concerning wild birds ended is the same as
the date the bird was found (17 Dec 2011).
A total of 19 451 poultry, including 15 569 chickens, 810 pigeons,
1950 pheasants and 1122 silky fowls were culled in the Cheung Sha Wan
Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market on 21 Dec 2011. Importation of live
poultry and movement of poultry in local farms is banned for 21 days.
Surveillance and monitoring of local chicken farms has been stepped
up. So far, no H5 virus was detected in samples taken from the 30
chicken farms in Hong Kong".
In fact, the current 2 "outbreaks" are the 2nd and 3rd during the last
2 weeks. On 19 Dec 2011, the HK authorities submitted to the OIE an
"Immediate Notification" on the discovery of an H5N1-positive case in
a Black-headed Gull (_Chroicocephalus ridibundus_), which had been
collected on 13 Dec 2011. The Black-headed Gull is a common winter
visitor in Hong Kong. Suspected infection in a woman who came in
contact with the bird was excluded (see 20111216.3611).
The oriental magpie robin, _Copsychus saularis_ (Order: Passeriformes,
Family: Muscicapidae) is an insectivorous species which is a resident
breeder in tropical southern Asia. It is a commonly found species in
Hong Kong; according to birdwatchers, usually seen at large urban
parks and the countryside, protected by law. This bird was found
infected by H5N1 for the 1st time in Hong Kong in Jan 2006; see at
20060120.0183. - Mod.AS
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