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Common Magpie tested for H5 virus

    Preliminary testing of a Common Magpie found in Sham Tseng has indicated a suspected case of H5 avian influenza, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (February 4), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

     The bird was collected by AFCD staff in Yuen Tun Village, Tsing Lung Tau following a public referral on February 2. Appearing sick at the time, it was transferred to the departmentˇ¦s Animal Management Centre/North and died the following day.

     The spokesman said there is only one commercial chicken farm within five kilometres of where the bird was found. No abnormal mortality or symptoms of avian influenza was detected among the chicken flocks upon inspection.

     As for the two earlier suspected cases involving a dead chicken found in Sha Tau Kok and a Crested Myna found in Wong Tai Sin, the spokesman said the two birds were confirmed to have H5N1 virus after a series of laboratory tests.  

     He reminded the public to observe good personal hygiene and avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry.

     ˇ§People should clean their hands thoroughly after contacting poultry and birds,ˇ¨ he said.

Ends/Saturday, February 4, 2006
Issued at HKT 16:30