HK takes measures to guard against bird flu: official

20:56, November 18, 2010      

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The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) will take measures to guard against bird flu, York Chow, Secretary for Food and Health, said on Thursday.

Chow added that there is no significant increase in the risk of a pandemic in Hong Kong.

The city activated the Serious Response Level in public hospitals to tie in with the Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic Wednesday night, following the reporting of the first human bird flu case since February 2003.

Government officers will inspect local poultry farms and conduct more checks on live birds, and cleaning work at poultry farms and markets will be strengthened as well, Chow told media after attending an inter-departmental meeting on bird flu earlier in the day.

The infected 59-year-old woman has been transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital and is still in serious condition, and the preliminary tests show the type of avian virus she has is common in Asia, Chow said.

Experts said the incubation period indicates she likely contracted the virus on the mainland.

Apart from informing the World Health Organization and the mainland authorities of the case, the Hong Kong government also asked Guangdong province to strengthen surveillance and checks on poultry farms supplying birds to Hong Kong.

So far no problems have been found on these farms.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hospital Authority has tightened precautionary measures in public hospitals, like shortening visiting hours, and requiring staff and visitors to wear masks, Chow said.

Tests will be conducted on patients with fever and other flu symptoms, and those who have just returned to Hong Kong after visiting markets and being close to poultry.

On Wednesday, a 59-year-old local woman was found to have contracted H5N1 avian flu virus after visiting the Chinese mainland last month.

Source: Xinhua


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