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Black-headed gull carcass tests positive for H5N6 virus
     The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (February 9) that the carcass of a black-headed gull found in Lau Fau Shan, Tin Shui Wai, was confirmed as having the H5N6 avian influenza virus after laboratory testing.

     The bird carcass was found and collected near a public toilet at Ngau Hom Tsuen, Lau Fau Shan. It was suspected to have the H5 virus after initial laboratory testing yesterday (February 8). The black-headed gull is a common winter visitor. 

     The spokesman said two chicken farms are within 3 kilometres of where the dead bird was found. The AFCD has already informed the chicken farms concerned and found no abnormal mortality or symptoms of avian influenza among the chicken flocks so far. The AFCD will also phone poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters will be issued to pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons, reminding them that proper precautions must be taken. The AFCD will continue to monitor the situation closely.

     The Hong Kong Wetland Park is also within 3km of where the bird was found. Cleaning and disinfection has been stepped up at the Wetland Park. Notices have also been put up to remind visitors to pay attention to personal hygiene. The Wetland Park will keep a close watch on the situation of birds inside the Park.

     The spokesman said the department will conduct 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 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 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, the 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.

     All relevant government departments will continue to be highly vigilant and strictly enforce preventive measures against avian influenza.

     Health advice is available from the "H5N1 Health Advice" page on the AFCD website at www.afcd.gov.hk.
Ends/Friday, February 9, 2018
Issued at HKT 20:15
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