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Large-billed Crow tests positive for H5N1 virus

     Under the present avian influenza surveillance programme on dead wild birds, test results available today (January 21) showed that a dead Large-billed Crow found in Tai O was confirmed to be H5N1 positive, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said.

     The bird carcass was collected at Sun Ki Street, Tai O on January 18. It was highly decomposed when found and required a series of tests before avian influenza was confirmed today.  

     The spokesman said there were no poultry farms within three kilometres of where the dead bird was found. The Large-billed Crow is a common resident bird in Hong Kong.

     In addition, a dead Oriental Magpie Robin collected on January 17 near a refuse collection point at Fairview Park, Yuen Long was also confirmed to be H5N1 positive after laboratory testing.
     The spokesman said all relevant government departments would continue to remain highly vigilant and strictly enforce preventive measures against avian influenza.

     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, 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 the Call Centre on 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, 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 quarantine.

     Health advice is available from the "H5N1 Health Advice" on the AFCD website at .

Ends/Friday, January 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:40


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