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HK on High Alert Against Bird Flu
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Hong Kong is closely monitoring H5N1 avian flu to ensure that it will not affect the health of the public and the poultry, said Hong Kong's health chief on Saturday.


York Chow, the secretary for health, welfare and food, told reporters the monitoring of H5N1 avian flu among local bird population has been strengthened after five dead birds were found H5N1 positive this month.


He did not say whether the authority will close the pet birds stalls because of the increasing risk of bird flu. He assured the public that all the pet birds imported are from registered bird farms and their health is guaranteed.


Chow said, "We have tested about 2,000 samples from pet bird stalls last year and the results are negative."


He admitted it is difficult to monitor the health of wild birds and there may be continuous dead birds tested H5N1 virus positive. However, he said, "We have tested more than 1,000 wild birds so far and only five of them are H5 positive."


The most important thing is to monitor the trend of the H5N1 within our bird population to ensure it would not be in contact with human or poultry, he added.


(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2007)


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