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SFH on avian influenza A(H7N9)

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, after attending a public function this morning (December 12):

Secretary for Food and Health: The Centre for Health Protection has received notification that (three) specimens from two live poultry markets in Shenzhen were tested positive for the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus. I think this is an evidence further supporting experts' opinion that part of the live poultry in Shenzhen has already been infected with the virus. But up to this stage, there is no concrete evidence to substantiate the direct relationship between these positive specimens and the source of infection of the two human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong. Therefore, we will maintain the arrangement to suspend live poultry import from Shenzhen farms for the time being.

     Serology test is a more sensitive test (used to) detect the antibodies of the poultry, which gives us an idea of how wide the virus is spreading among the poultry population. The test, however, has its own limitation as well. Because even there are specimens tested positive (for the virus) in the serology (test), we cannot draw a direct conclusion that the live poultry (in question) would be infectious.

Reporter: (On avian influenza A(H7N9).)

Secretary for Food and Health: I think experts have pointed out that the positive finding of the (avian influenza A)H7N9 virus in the environmental specimens from two Shenzhen markets actually highlighted the possibility that sporadic human cases (of infection) after contacting poultry will continue. However, up to this moment, there is no evidence showing that the virus is being transformed into a shape that it can be sustainably transmitted among humans.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, December 12, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:42


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