Hong Kong Intensifies Monitoring Of H7N9 Bird Flu

Category: World / Apr 09, 2013 5:11PM EDT
Hong Kong has stepped up its surveillance on the H7N9 bird flu as a total of 28 patients have been infected by the virus in China as of Tuesday. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has reinforced H7N9 preventative measures this week, including intensified H7N9 testing on chickens imported via the Wenjin Ferry and increased inspections of dead wild birds as well as live poultry. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has dispatched inspectors to all of its ports to perform random temperature checks on people entering the region. Due to the recent H7N9 cases, wholesale prices for live poultry have dropped in Hong Kong. "The wholesale price (for live poultry) has dropped from the previous 20 HK dollars to about 16 HK dollars at present and may continue to fall," said Chiang Yungchang, manager of the Hong Kong Cheung Sha Wan Poultry Wholesale Market. It is reported that an average of 20,000 live birds are traded in Hong Kong each day, with 7,000 coming from Guangdong and Hainan provinces on the Chinese mainland. In addition, over 18,000 dead birds and 15,000 other specimens have been tested over the past three years, all of which showed negative in test results. "Since 2010, Hong Kong has tested chickens cultivated, retailed and wholesaled in Hong Kong for H7 avian influenza, and the Chinese mainland has also taken the same measures on chickens bound for Hong Kong. No cases of the virus have been found as of now," said Ko Wingman, Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health. The SAR government has also opened a website to help combat the H7N9 bird flu. The site is regularly updated with the latest news regarding the bird flu as well as preventative measures citizens can take to avoid contracting the virus. (Video Source: REUTERS)