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Hong Kong reports H5 bird flu cases
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Hong Kong top health official confirmed Tuesday that a chicken farm at the New Territories had reported cases of the H5 avian influenza virus.

"Three dead chicken found at a chicken farm at Yuen Long district were H5 positive after our laboratory tests," York Chow, Secretary for Food and Health of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, said in a press conference.

It was Hong Kong's first case of H5 infection this winter and health authority has raised its vigilance level to "serious" after the suspected bird flu cases.

Chow said the HKSAR government had declared the areas within 3 kilometers near the farm an "epidemic spot" and ordered the culling of about 80,000 chickens located in the areas.

Two farms in the areas have been closed after the H5 cases and health authority had decided to suspend the imports of live poultry into the city and the trading of live poultry for 21 days starting Tuesday.

"Those staff in close contact with live poultry in the farms are in good health now without any syndromes of H5 infection," Chow said, "but we will closely monitor the situation."

He said the Food and Health Bureau had noticed all hospitals in the city to be on high alert and must report timely the possible suspected human cases of bird flu infection.

"I also call on the public to remain vigilant and keep their personal hygiene," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2008)

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