Preliminary testing of a dead oriental magpie robin found earlier in Hong Kong had indicated a suspected case of H5 bird flu, authorities in the southern Chinese special administrative region said Tuesday.
The dead bird was collected near the management center in Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve on Friday, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said, adding that the case was subject to further confirmatory tests.
Oriental magpie robin is a common resident bird in Hong Kong, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department was quoted as saying.
The spokesman said authorities have conducted a thorough cleansing operation in the nearby area of the management center on Tuesday and staff of the country park would also step up precautionary measures.
The department also inspected a chicken farm within three kilometers of where the bird was found and found no abnormal deaths or bird flu symptoms among the chickens.
Hong Kong had recently recorded several cases of dead birds testing positive for the H5N1 strain, which has killed hundreds around the world, leading scientists and the public to fear a widespread pandemic that could kill as many as millions.
The spokesman said the threat of bird flu remained and authorities would remain vigilant and continue to take preventive and control measures.
He also reminded the public to observe good personal hygiene.
"They should avoid personal contact with wild birds or live poultry and clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2008)