Friday, April 13, 2018

Hong Kong: CHP Investigation Into Detection Of Avian H5 At Mong Kok Bird Garden


In a follow up to my earlier blog this morning (see Hong Kong: Mong Kok Bird Garden Closed Over Detection Of H5 Virus), we now have the following statement published by Hong Kong's Centre For Health Protection (CHP).
While the risk of human infection from this virus is likely very low, Hong Kong takes these incidents very seriously, having learned a harsh lesson during the 2003 SARS epidemic, which saw 1750 residents infected, of which 286 died (see SARS and Remembrance).
The Mong Kok shopping district is not only one of the most heavily visited tourist areas in the city, it is also one of the most densely populated business districts in the world (340K per Sq/Mi).

In other words, a fertile ground for disease transmission. Hence the rapid response.

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 13) has conducted follow-up investigations in response to the detection of H5 avian influenza virus on a swab sample taken at a pet bird shop in Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in Mong Kok.
     Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit at the Bird Garden this morning. A total of 33 stall operators and workers were interviewed and provided with health advice on avian influenza. All of them have remained asymptomatic so far and have been put under medical surveillance. Contact tracing is ongoing.
     A spokesman for the CHP urged members of the public who have recently visited the Bird Garden to seek medical advice as soon as possible if they develop symptoms of avian influenza within seven days after the visit. They should inform the doctor of their exposure history for prompt diagnosis and treatment of potential diseases.
     "Whether locally or outside Hong Kong, the public should avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings and should not visit live poultry markets and farms to protect themselves from avian influenza," the spokesman added.
     When handling birds, live poultry, poultry products or eggs, the public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below: 

  • Avoid touching poultry, birds, animals or their droppings;
  • Wear gloves and a surgical mask when handling droppings or secretions of birds;
  • Disinfect bird cages and surfaces contaminated by bird droppings or secretions;
  • When buying live chickens, do not touch them and their droppings. Do not blow at their bottoms. Wash eggs with detergent if soiled with faecal matter and cook and consume the eggs immediately. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling chickens and eggs;
  • Eggs should be cooked well until the white and yolk become firm. Do not eat raw eggs or dip cooked food into any sauce with raw eggs. Poultry should be cooked thoroughly. If there is pinkish juice running from the cooked poultry or the middle part of its bone is still red, the poultry should be cooked again until fully done; and
  • Clean thoroughly all working surfaces, utensils and equipment that have been used for handling poultry products or eggs. Use separate knives and chopping boards to handle raw food and ready-to-eat food. Keep raw poultry meat in a well-covered container and store it in the lower compartment of a refrigerator while keeping ready-to-eat and cooked food in the upper compartment to avoid cross-contamination.
     For more information, the public may visit the CHP's page on avian influenza and the weekly Avian Influenza Report.
Ends/Friday, April 13, 2018

Issued at HKT 18:18

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