Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Hong Kong Steps Up Bird Flu Searches

file photo
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Feb 06, 2006
A magpie has been found to have died with the lethal-to-humans H5N1 bird flu in Hong Kong, experts said Monday, bringing to five this year the number of birds found with the killer disease.

The test result on the bird, which was discovered in a rural area close to the Chinese border over the weekend, came as officials stepped up measures to stop the virus speading to Hong Kong from bird flu-hit regions of China.

A statement from the former British colony's agriculture ministry confirmed the bird had the virus, which has killed 85 people throughout Asia and has spread as far as Eastern Europe.

The spate of bird flu discoveries -- in three other wild species and a chicken smuggled from China -- over the past two weeks is the worst since two infected falcons were found in 2004.

The last recorded outbreaks among humans here was in 2003, when a boy and his father died after a trip to China.

The latest scare is likely to deepen concerns that the virus could mutate to a form easily transmissible by humans, sparking a pandemic that experts predict will kill millions.

Officials Monday sought to plug holes in the city's otherwise watertight bird-flu defences after the diseased chicken was found to have been brought in across the city's fluid border with China.

Health minister York Chow said he had won agreement from his counterparts in the neighbouring southern Chinese boomtown Shenzhen to toughen bird flu defences.

He said officials would order culls of all flocks within a five-kilometre radius of any confirmed virus outbreak and added that the government would consider reducing the quota of poultry meat imported for food.

Three people who had come in contact with the chicken tested negative for flu Friday.

The scare has led to condemnation of villages that lie in the Hong Kong-Chinese border zone as the weak link in the avian flu combat measures.

The infected chicken was smuggled in, possibly unwittingly, by a villager who had given the bird to family members as a Lunar New Year holiday gift.

A border police official said police were unable to inspect all belongings of everyone moving in an out of the borderland villages.

Assistant commissioner for boundary and ports Chow Kwong said officers had stepped up border and sea patrols in response.

"Front-line customs officers have been put on high alert and examination of suspicious imported cargo and baggage has also been increased," the customs chief said.

"We have strengthened intelligence exchange with China and other customs authorities, the agriculture (department) and the food and environmental hygiene department to crack down on smuggling activities of birds and poultry," he added.

Bird flu first became lethal to humans in 1997 when it killed six people in an outbreak in Hong Kong.

Experts believe the scourge has been transmitted across the globe by migratory wild birds.

The latest scare in Hong Kong has renewed questions about whether or not China has been open about the spread of the disease within its borders.

Officials in the southern province of Guangdong say the province is bird-flu clean, however experts believe that diseased wild birds -- all local non-migratory species -- must have been infected from a nearby source.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

1,500 Cholera Cases In Flood-Hit Mozambique
Maputo (AFP) Feb 07, 2006
More than 1,500 cases of cholera have been recorded in flood-stricken Mozambique, especially in the worst-hit central region, a senior health official said Tuesday.

  • Storm-Ravaged New Orleans Seeks To Reverse Social Ills
  • US Military To End Pakistan Relief Operation
  • Tsunami Victims' Rights Abused?
  • Disaster Convention Warned On Urbanisation Risk

  • Thousands Of Barges Could Save Europe From Deep Freeze
  • Research Flights Probing Ice Particles In Clouds
  • World's Temperature Second Highest On Record In 2005: Japan
  • Sat Portrait Of Global Plant Growth Will Aid Climate Research

  • Satellites Support Businesses Working For Sustainable Development
  • Keeping New York City "Cool" Is The Job Of NASA's "Heat Seekers"
  • MSG-2 First Images
  • EADS Astrium To Supply Algeria's ALSAT-2 Optical Observation System

  • Three Gorges Dam To Be Completed Ahead Of Schedule
  • Polymer Membranes For Hydrogen Purification Could Lower Production Costs
  • Brazil Seeks To Bolster Ethanol Sector
  • New Material Brings Hydrogen Fuel, Cheaper Petrochemicals Closer

  • 1,500 Cholera Cases In Flood-Hit Mozambique
  • Deadly Meningitis Outbreaks In Drought-Stricken Kenya, Uganda
  • Hong Kong Steps Up Bird Flu Searches
  • Flood Hit Mozambique Braces For Rise In Cholera Deaths

  • Introduced Predators Throw A Wrench In The Food Web
  • Dozens Of New Species In 'Lost World' Of West New Guinea
  • Scientists Sequence Complete Genome Of Woolly Mammoth
  • Antarctic Krill Provide Carbon Sink In Southern Ocean

  • Global Initiative To Limit Chemical Hazards Agreed In Dubai
  • China Vows Public Disclosure On Environmental Disasters
  • China To Monitor Petrochemical Industry For Pollution
  • Hong Kong Choking Beneath Worst Smog This Year

  • Brain Changes Significantly After Age Eighteen
  • Blue Light May Fight Fatigue
  • Study Suggests Why Neanderthals Vanished
  • New Technique Puts Brain-Imaging Research On Its Head

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement