- (AFP) -- Health authorities in Hong Kong
confirmed that 3 more birds had died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu and
said tests were under way on another suspected case.
- This brings to 13 the number of birds
in the southern Chinese territory known to have caught the bird flu strain
that has claimed at least 90, mostly Asian, human lives since late 2003
and has now spread to Africa and Europe.
- Preliminary tests on a 14th bird, a house
crow found on Thursday [23 Feb 2006] in Shek Kip Mei in the Kowloon area,
indicated a suspected case of H5 avian influenza, a spokesman from the
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.
- The latest birds confirmed with H5N1
were a dead large-billed crow; found in Kowloon on Saturday and a munia [species?!]
and a white-backed
munia discovered separately on
Hong Kong island on Sunday.
- 10 birds had previously tested positive
for the deadly strain, including 2 magpies found dead last week in the
densely populated urban districts of Mongkok and neighbouring Sham Shui
Po. A law banning chickens and ducks as pets came into force in Hong Kong
on 13 Feb 2006 as the government stepped up efforts to suppress a brewing
bird flu outbreak.
- Agriculture department staff have been
searching homes in villages throughout the territory's rural areas in what
was expected to be a 6-week programme to clear Hong Kong of an estimated
9000 chickens and 3500 ducks kept in homes.
- Hong Kong was the scene of the world's
1st reported major bird flu outbreak among humans in 1997, when 6 people
died of the then-unknown scourge. As the virus was quickly traced to chickens
and ducks, the outbreak prompted the government to slaughter all the city's
1.5 million poultry.