Peregrine falcon found in Lantau tests positive for H5N1 virus
Monday, March 19, 2012
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 19) that a dead peregrine falcon found in Lantau was confirmed to be H5N1-positive after laboratory testing.
The bird's carcass was found and collected at 80 South Perimeter Road, Lantau, on March 12. It was decomposed when found and required a series of tests before H5N1 avian influenza was confirmed today. The peregrine falcon is a rare winter visitor to Hong Kong.
The spokesman said cleansing and disinfection has been stepped up at the area, adding that there are no poultry farms within 3 kilometres of where the dead bird was found.
In view of the case, the AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.
The spokesman said the department would conduct frequent inspections of poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented. The department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance.
"People should avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry and their droppings. They should clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them. The public can call 1823 for follow-up if they come across suspicious sick or dead birds, including the carcasses of wild birds and poultry," the spokesman said.
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) will continue to be vigilant over imported live poultry as well as live poultry stalls. It will also remind stall operators to maintain good hygiene.
The Department of Health will keep up with its health education to remind the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent avian influenza.
The AFCD, the FEHD, the Customs and Excise Department and the Police will strive to deter the illegal import of poultry and birds into Hong Kong to minimise the risk of avian influenza outbreaks caused by imported poultry and birds that have not gone through inspection and quarantine.
All relevant government departments will continue to remain highly vigilant and strictly enforce preventive measures against avian influenza.
Health advice is available from the "H5N1 Health Advice" on the AFCD website at www.afcd.gov.hk.