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Exercise ensures AFCD prepared for avian influenza outbreak (with photos)

     The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) conducted a field simulation exercise today (October 27) to review the department's preparedness in case a poultry culling operation is required in response to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Hong Kong.

     The exercise provided a scenario for relevant staff to familiarise themselves with the work procedures and biosecurity measures for carrying out the operation, and to identify areas for improvement in the response plans.

     The exercise focused on the overall on-site preparation and implementation of biosecurity measures, such as the procedure for wearing and removing protective gear, as well as the disinfection and disposal of carcasses.

     "Although local poultry farms have been free of HPAI since the end of 2008, Hong Kong must stay vigilant to prevent avian influenza as there have been HPAI cases in nearby regions from time to time," said the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Mr Alan Wong, after observing the exercise.

     "The AFCD will continue to conduct inspections of local poultry farms and the wholesale market and remind farmers and wholesalers to enhance their biosecurity measures against avian influenza," he said.

     A field command centre and two mock chicken farms were set up for participants to carry out their frontline duties, which included mobilising staff and resources, setting up different operation areas in the index farm, and following personal biosecurity guidelines when entering and leaving the index farm.

     About 100 staff took part in the exercise.  Representatives from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore were also present.

     The AFCD has notified the World Organisation for Animal Health of the exercise.

Ends/Thursday, October 27, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:12


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