Hong Kong - Wild Birds
Confirmed Killed By H5N1

(AFP) -- Health authorities in Hong Kong confirmed that 3 more birds had died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu and said tests were under way on another suspected case.
This brings to 13 the number of birds in the southern Chinese territory known to have caught the bird flu strain that has claimed at least 90, mostly Asian, human lives since late 2003 and has now spread to Africa and Europe.
Preliminary tests on a 14th bird, a house crow found on Thursday [23 Feb 2006] in Shek Kip Mei in the Kowloon area, indicated a suspected case of H5 avian influenza, a spokesman from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.
The latest birds confirmed with H5N1 were a dead large-billed crow; found in Kowloon on Saturday and a munia [species?!] and a white-backed munia discovered separately on Hong Kong island on Sunday.
10 birds had previously tested positive for the deadly strain, including 2 magpies found dead last week in the densely populated urban districts of Mongkok and neighbouring Sham Shui Po. A law banning chickens and ducks as pets came into force in Hong Kong on 13 Feb 2006 as the government stepped up efforts to suppress a brewing bird flu outbreak.
Agriculture department staff have been searching homes in villages throughout the territory's rural areas in what was expected to be a 6-week programme to clear Hong Kong of an estimated 9000 chickens and 3500 ducks kept in homes.
Hong Kong was the scene of the world's 1st reported major bird flu outbreak among humans in 1997, when 6 people died of the then-unknown scourge. As the virus was quickly traced to chickens and ducks, the outbreak prompted the government to slaughter all the city's 1.5 million poultry.



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