Monday, February 13, 2012

Egrets, They’ve Had A Few . . .




Photo Credit- Wikipedia


# 6139



This morning Hong Kong is reporting the discovery of two more H5N1 positive egrets. The dead birds were collected on February 6th and 7th and laboratory testing over the weekend has confirmed the presence of HPAI bird flu.


While we rarely hear of infected birds out of China (likely due to less than robust surveillance & reporting) - most years Hong Kong detects a couple of dozen cases - suggesting that the virus among wild birds on the mainland is probably more prevalent than is officially acknowledged. 


In December of 2008 Hong Kong saw their first outbreak of H5N1 in domesticated poultry in nearly 6 years. In early 2009 it was announced that the H5N1 outbreak was `likely’ caused by infected migratory birds.  See Wild Birds Eyed As Likely Source Of Hong Kong Bird Flu Outbreak.


Since then, local authorities have become even more diligent in their surveillance and testing of dead birds.


Over the past few weeks we’ve seen reports of magpie robins, egrets, peregrine falcons, and black-headed gulls testing positive for the virus in Hong Kong.


This from the Hong Kong government today:


 Little egrets test positive for H5N1 virus

A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (February 13) that two dead little egrets found in Tuen Mun on February 6 and 7 were confirmed to be H5N1-positive after a series of laboratory tests.

The two dead birds were found and collected at the northern entrance to Tuen Mun Park, Tuen Mun Heung Sze Wui Road, on February 6 and 7.


The little egret is a common resident bird in Hong Kong.


The AFCD will continue to conduct inspections of poultry farms to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented.


The spokesman reminded people to observe good personal hygiene.


"They should avoid personal contact with wild birds or live poultry and clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them," he said.

Ends/Monday, February 13, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:00


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