Hong Kong culls chickens at market, bans trade, as H5N1 found

Posted on December 21, 2011

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – Workers began culling 17,000 chickens at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong on Wednesday after a dead chicken there tested positive for the deadly H5N1 avian virus, a government spokesman said.

The Hong Kong government also suspended imports of live chickens from mainland China and the trading of live chickens for 21 days in a bid to prevent any spread of the disease, which is normally found in birds but can jump to humans.

“We do not know if the dead chicken was imported from China or if it’s a local chicken,” the government spokesman said, adding that the market would be emptied of birds and thoroughly disinfected.

People do not have immunity to the H5N1 virus and researchers worry it could mutate in humans into a form that would spread around the world and kill millions of people.

The virus passes easily among birds and has becomes active in various parts of the world, but especially in east Asia, over recent years, especially in the cooler months of the year.

The current strain of H5N1 is highly pathogenic, kills most species of birds and up to 60 percent of the people it infects.

Yahoo News

 

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