Home > Hong Kong culls 20,000 chickens following H7N9 virus detection

Hong Kong culls 20,000 chickens following H7N9 virus detection

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Up to 20,000 chickens have been culled in Hong Kong after the deadly strain of bird flu, H7N9 virus, was found in a batch of poultry imported from mainland China.

The virus was detected on Monday at Hong Kong’s only poultry wholesale market, Cheung Sha Wan, with the culling commencing at 10am according to local officials. The market will now be closed until February 18 following thorough disinfection of the area, ABC News reports.

Hong Kong’s secretary for food and health Dr Ko Wing-Man said that more testing will be taking place of the next few days to ensure that the virus hasn’t spread.

"Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department officers will inspect all the local chicken farms and collect more samples for testing to ensure that local farms are not affected by H7 avian influenza," he said.

In addition, officials have taken the precautionary step of suspending chicken supply to markets from local Hong Kong farms.

Both local Hong Kong farmers and wholesalers have said that chicken imports that are suspected to contain viruses should be held at border check points, however a government spokesperson said that the chickens were delivered to the market as there were no facilities to detain them at the border.

"The government should be held fully responsible," wholesaler Cheng Chin-keung told the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.

"It should have stopped the chickens at the border until they were confirmed to be clear of bird flu.

"Now the chickens from China get mixed with local chickens in the wholesale market and all of them have to be culled."

The detection of the H7N9 virus has come just days after widespread testing of imported live poultry was introduced in Hong Kong.

photo credit: juhansonin via photopin cc 

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