Some 16,000 chickens have been culled and poultry markets cleaned to prevent the outbreak of bird flu in Hong Kong, after over 1,000 chickens were found dead at a farm, local media reported Sunday.
Initial test at Ta Kwu Ling farm in the New Territories, where the chickens were found dead, showed 12 of the chickens were positive for the H5 avian virus, and samples of birds in nearby Kowloon were also tested positive, while the inspections at 14 other poultry farms near the Ta Kwu Ling farm found no unusual chicken deaths, according to health officials.
Some 200,000 chickens would be vaccinated in the New Territories in two days to avoid a spread of the bird flu. In addition, certain mainland companies were noted to suspend supplying HK with chickens, and local markets were also told to stop temporally carrying in chickens, said the health officials.
Deputy Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Eddy Chan said the public has no need to be worried since there are no signs of breakout of the disease.
The previous major outbreak of bird flu occurred in February, and deaths at Ta Kwu Ling were the most serious this year.
(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2002)