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CHP urges public to be cautious in handling chilled poultry to guard against avian influenza
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (January 23) urged the public to stay alert against avian influenza amid the recent detection of the H5 virus in an oropharyngeal swab sample from a batch of chilled chickens. People who have recently handled chilled chickens imported from the Mainland processing plant Huidong County Baishisheng Agricultural Co Ltd (production date: January 15, 2018) and develop fever or respiratory symptoms within seven days are advised to seek medical advice immediately and inform their doctor of this exposure history.
     According to an announcement by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today, samples were taken earlier from a batch of chilled chickens at a fresh provision shop in Mong Kok for testing of avian influenza. The H5 virus was detected from an oropharyngeal swab.
     The CHP reminded the public to avoid handling the affected batch of chilled chickens. Those who are uncertain whether the chilled chicken belonged to the affected batch should refer to the external package for information about the processing plant and the production date or enquire with the retailer/shop.

     Meanwhile, the CHP has initiated medical surveillance for the staff concerned and other known contacts, and will prescribe the antiviral Tamiflu prophylaxis to them if necessary. The CHP has also stepped up surveillance for possible human cases. Letters will be sent to doctors and hospitals today urging them to report any suspected cases.
     To protect themselves from avian influenza, people handling chilled poultry or poultry carcasses are reminded to observe strict personal and hand hygiene. They should never touch the mouth, nose or eyes when handling any poultry, poultry products or eggs. Afterwards, they must wash their hands thoroughly with liquid soap and water. 

     If handling live poultry, poultry products or eggs, the public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below:
  • Avoid touching poultry, birds, animals or their droppings;
  • When buying live chickens, do not touch them and their droppings. Do not blow at their bottoms. Wash eggs with detergent if soiled with faecal matter and cook and consume the eggs immediately. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling chickens and eggs;
  • Cook poultry meat, poultry products or eggs thoroughly before consumption as high temperatures can kill avian influenza viruses; and
  • Clean thoroughly all working surfaces, utensils and equipment that have been used for handling poultry products or eggs. Use separate knives and chopping boards to handle raw food and ready-to-eat food. Keep raw poultry meat in a well-covered container and store it in the lower compartment of a refrigerator while keeping ready-to-eat and cooked food in the upper compartment to avoid cross-contamination.

     For more information, the public may visit the CHP's page on avian influenza.
Ends/Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:15
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