Published Date: 2012-01-04 12:32:50
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza: China (HK) H5N1, gull
Archive Number: 20120104.0021
AVIAN INFLUENZA: CHINA (HONG KONG) H5N1, GULL
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 3 Jan 2012
Source: GovHK (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government)
press release [edited]
Black-headed gulls test positive for H5 virus
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
(AFCD) said today (3 Jan 2012) that 2 dead black-headed gulls found in
Tuen Mun and Lantau have tested positive for the H5 avian influenza
virus in preliminary testing, adding that further confirmatory tests
are being conducted.
The 1st gull was collected at EcoPark, 133 Lung Mun Road, Tuen Mun, on
30 Dec 2011 while the 2nd one was found at a drain near Sha Lo Wan
Soccer Pitch, Lantau, on 1 Jan 2012.
The black-headed gull is a common winter visitor.
The spokesman said there were no poultry farms within 3 kilometres [2
mi] of where the dead birds were found.
The AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen
precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza.
Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence
holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons, reminding them that proper
precautions must be taken.
The spokesman said the department would conduct frequent inspections
of poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper
precautions against avian influenza have been implemented. The
department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance.
"People 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. The public can call 1823 for follow-up
if they come across suspicious sick or dead birds, including the
carcasses of wild birds and poultry," the spokesman said.
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 with its health education to
remind the public to maintain strict personal and environmental
hygiene to prevent avian influenza.
The AFCD, the 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 caused by
imported poultry and birds that have not gone through inspection and
All relevant government departments will continue to remain highly
vigilant and strictly enforce preventive measures against avian
Health advice is available from the "H5N1 Health Advice" on the AFCD
website at http://www.afcd.gov.hk.
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[Two H5N1 outbreaks involving poultry and wild birds in Hong Kong were
reported to OIE in December 2011
The black-headed gull (_Chroicocephalus [=Larus] ridibundus_) is a
small gull which breeds in much of Europe and Asia, and also in
coastal eastern Canada. Most of the population is migratory, wintering
further south, but some birds in the milder westernmost areas of
Europe are resident. A picture of this species can be found at
Because gulls are very susceptible to H5N1, it is very unlikely that
they can carry the virus long distances through migration.
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the area can be found at
http://healthmap.org/r/1BC7. - Mod.PMB]