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Ciptapangan Visitor
Hong Kong confirms dead bird had H5N1 strain
posted by admin on 17/01/07

HONG KONG: A dead bird found in Hong Kong was infected with the fatal H5N1 strain of bird flu, the second bird in the territory to test positive for the virus this year, an agricultural official said on Wednesday.

The crested goshawk was discovered on January 9 and a spokesman for the agricultural department urged the public to remain vigilant about the dangers posed by avian flu.

"They should avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry and clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them," he said in a statement.

Earlier this month, authorities confirmed that a wild bird found in a busy downtown shopping area of the southern Chinese territory was also carrying the virus.

The city has been on high alert, with authorities stepping up checks at the border with China, where flu-infected birds were smuggled in last year, sparking the first outbreak of H5N1 among local birds in years.

Hong Kong was the scene of the world's first reported major bird flu outbreak among humans in 1997, when six people died of a then unknown mutation of the avian flu virus. Millions of poultry were culled.

The flu's H5N1 strain is potentially deadly to humans. Bird flu has killed more than 150 people worldwide since late 2003. There are fears it could mutate and trigger a deadly human flu pandemic. - AFP/so

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