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HK Revises Mainland Poultry Supply Ban Period
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Hong Kong has revised the ban of suspension period of the Chinese mainland live poultry supply from 21 days to 14 days once a human bird flu case is confirmed, Hong Kong Health, Welfare and Food Bureau said Saturday.

Members of the Center for Health Protection Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases of Hong Kong discussed the issue Friday and agreed that if human bird flu cases are detected in the neighboring Guangdong Province again and no bird flu outbreak is seen in the poultry population, the general suspension period of mainland live poultry supply can be cut to 14 days.

The bureau previously imposed a 21-day suspension period after a human bird flu case is found in Guangdong.

This practice drew reference from the World Organization for Animal Health's Terrestrial Animal Health Code, in which 21 days referred to the incubation period if bird flu is found among poultry.

The committee has considered several factors, including epidemiology, incubation period and mode of transmission among people and poultry, empirical data from investigation of Guangdong human cases and the code.

The bureau also agreed with the committee that while a general 14-day suspension following the confirmation of a human case can be set for observation purposes, it will be necessary to examine each case on an individual basis for epidemiological and exposure history, as well as evidence of an abnormal situation in poultry farms when deciding whether to extend the suspension.

If bird flu is detected in poultry farms supplying Hong Kong, the 14-day suspension period will not be applied as the bureau will need more time to ensure the situation is under control prior to the resumption of import of mainland live poultry.

(Xinhua News Agency July 30, 2006)

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