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02 March 2024

More dead birds in flu-ridden Hong Kong

By Agencies


A bird found dead in Hong Kong a week ago has tested positive for the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain, agricultural officials said on Friday.


The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said laboratory results showed a peregrine falcon had been infected with the killer virus, and reminded people to avoid personal contact with wild birds or live poultry.


The sick bird was found and collected on March 8 in bushes near the Park Island estate on Ma Wan island. It died the same day.


It is the latest in a line of bird flu cases to hit the city this year.


Last month a black-crowned heron at Ocean Park, a major Hong Kong tourist attraction, was found to have been infected with the virus. The discovery closed the aviary for three weeks.


Migratory birds have been blamed for the global spread of the disease, which has killed 235 people and ravaged poultry flocks worldwide since 2003.


World Health Organisation experts say a bird flu pandemic among humans would kill millions worldwide.

Meanwhile, a government-appointed panel of experts is investigating the deaths of three children, aged two, three and seven, over the last two weeks.

More than half a million Hong Kong schoolchildren stayed at home on Thursday after the government shut all kindergartens and primary schools for two weeks to contain an outbreak of flu.


The government's decision to shut down the schools brought back memories of 2003, when an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) hit Hong Kong. (AFP & Reuters)