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HK, Mainland step up surveillance against H7N9 virus


17:49, April 08, 2013

HONG KONG, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao officials decided at a meeting in the southern coast city of Zhuhai to step up surveillance of live poultry and poultry products bound for Hong Kong, by increasing the sample size and frequency of farm inspections, according to a Monday's release by the city's Information Service Department.

Representatives of concerned departments from Hong Kong and Macao met with representatives of the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection & Quarantine, and those in charge of inspection and quarantine for Guangdong, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Hainan, and Macao on Sunday.

The meeting was called in response to the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak affecting people in the eastern region of the Mainland, and to ensure the safety of live poultry and poultry products supplied to Hong Kong.

To strengthen prevention and control measures against the virus, testing methods will be developed, testing standards and results will be validated, and technical training will be provided, the meeting decided.

Since 2010, all live poultry and poultry products bound for Hong Kong have been tested for H5 and H7 avian influenza, and all 570,000 specimens have tested negative.

Hong Kong will soon begin conducting tests for H7 avian influenza in imported live poultry. Over 18,000 dead birds and 15,000 other specimens have been tested in the past three years, and no cases of the virus have been found.

The city's government will continue to work closely with Mainland authorities and keep them informed of any infected birds, in which case poultry will be culled and Mainland poultry imports suspended to minimize the risk of an outbreak in Hong Kong.

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