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» 01/20/2006
HONG KONG
Avian flu: chicken farms to be inspected in Hong Kong
The virus was found in tests on a dead oriental magpie robin. Authorities urge people to remain calm. New human cases reported in Indonesia. Optimism prevails in Turkey.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Inspections of Hong Kong's 145 chicken farms are being stepped up, especially in the Tai Po area. The most stringent inspections will be reserved for eight farms within a 5km radius of Kam Shan Tsuen village, where tests indicate that an oriental magpie robin found dead had the H5N1 virus. The species is native to Hong Kong and large parts of South and East Asia. The Mai Po bird sanctuary is also being monitored.

"It is only one dead wild bird so there is no cause for alarm," said Thomas Sit Hon-chung, acting assistant director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

But angry Tai Po villagers yesterday accused officials of leaving them in the dark—they learnt from TV about the dead bird found in the area last week.

Magpie robins are a common resident species in Hong Kong and can be found in gardens, parks and forests. In Tai Po people buy and sell them and other ornamental birds.

In Hong Kong there have been no human bird flu cases since 1997 when 18 people fell ill, six dying. But H5N1-infected wild birds have been recently been found dead. A heron was found dead at Lok Ma Chau. Three wild birds were found with the virus in 2004, two in 2003 and three in 2002.

To make matters worse, the latest discovery comes at a peak time for live chicken sales ahead of the Lunar New Year which falls on January 29 this year.

This has prompted calls for an immediate ban on chickens at wet markets, but Dr Sit Hon-chung insisted that inspections and testing at chicken farms had not found any abnormal deaths or "abnormal signs of avian flu".

Still, University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said "the government has to investigate how the bird got infected by looking into its lifestyle, such as its habits and the kinds of migratory birds it likes to mix with."

Since 1997 Hong Kong authorities have imposed strict controls on markets and poultry imports. In the last few months, restrictions have been tightened following the discovery of more than 30 outbreaks in mainland China.

Indonesia. The four-year-old boy who died last Tuesday in West Java had the bird flu, officials sources confirmed. His sister has also died of the disease whilst his elder sister and father are in the Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung showing its symptoms.

Another man from the village of Sida Mulya Bongos (Indramayu) was hospitalised on Wednesday night. Two other patients who died from the virus came from the same region.

Iraq. Maria Cheng, spokeswoman for the World Health Organisation (WHO), has excluded that the 15-year-old girl who died recently had the bird flu.

Turkey. Things are improving quickly in Turkey according to Cristiana Salvi, WHO spokeswoman. Culling a million birds and new health measures are slowing down if not stopping the virus. (PB)


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See also
12/18/2008 ASIA
Bird flu hits Asia again, from China and India to Egypt
01/17/2006 CHINA
Bird flu: more than 1.5 billion dollars needed to stem infection
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Avian flue pandemic could kill up to 300 million people
03/20/2006 ASIA
Avian flu spreading in Asia
03/03/2006 INDONESIA
Two boys die of bird flu
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WHO denies exaggerating bird flu pandemic threat
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Bird flu risks stopping Turkey's economic growth
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There is no evidence that Tamiflu works against bird flu
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Bird flu: more than 1.5 billion dollars needed to stem infection
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Avian flu: Between good and bad news
indonesia
Indonesian 13-year-old girl dies of bird flu
CHINA – VIETNAM
Bird flu risks rise as Chinese New Year approaches
China
Two people in China sickened by bird flu have died
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Bird flu reaches Istanbul
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EU says Turkey's bird flu is lethal H5N1 strain
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Bird flu at the gates of Europe, second death in Turkey
CHINA - HONG KONG
Bird flu: Hong Kong stops poultry imports from Sichuan
SAUDI ARABIA
Bird flu and terrorism cast a shadow over pilgrimage to Makkah
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Bird flu feared more virulent in Eastern Europe than in Asia
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WHO: China may have unidentified bird flu outbreaks
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Bird flu: in China WHO says many human cases unreported
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Sixth human case of bird flu in China
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Farmer who blew the whistle on bird flu outbreak is arrested
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WHO urges China to share H5N1 virus samples
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Bird flu kills again in Indonesia
HONG KONG - CHINA
Bird flu 38 times more infectious than SARS
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Bird flu: "Impossible" for China to vaccinate 14 billion birds
Vietnam
New human bird flu case confirmed in Vietnam
ASIA
Two more suspected avian flu deaths in Indonesia and Vietnam
SOUTH KOREA – APEC
Asia-Pacific Rim leaders urge common action against avian flu
ASIA
More outbreaks and human bird flu cases expected in China
CHINA - VIETNAM
China admits to first human case of bird flu
ASIA – CHINA
Avian flu: China might not be reporting every outbreak
ASIA
Bird flu: scientists fear the virus has become "more contagious"
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New human bird flu cases suspected in Vietnam and China
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Bird flu suspected in new death in Indonesia
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Prime Minister admits bird flu contagion peril
ASIA
A new death from bird flu in Vietnam
CHINA
China admits to three possible human cases of bird flu
INDONESIA
Fifth bird flu victim in Indonesia
ASIA
Bird flu pandemic would cost Asia 300 billion dollars
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Pandemic would be a disaster for Asia's economy
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In China newspapers can report on the bird flu only if authorised
THAILAND - ASIA
Thai woman tests positive for bird flu
CHINA - ASIA
Bird flu in China very serious, say official sources
VIETNAM - CHINA
Two more bird flu deaths feared in Vietnam
CHINA – ASIA
In China no information about the dangers of the avian flu
ASIA
Suspected new cases of bird flu in humans in China and Thailand
ASIA
More birds infected in China but world leaders have few suggestions
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Pandemic inevitable, say experts from around the world meeting in Canada
ASIA
Bird flu: China and Thailand want tighter controls on bird farming and human housing
CHINA
Beijing acknowledges bird flu situation is grave
ASIA
Bird flu spreads and claims new victim in Thailand
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Alarm bells sound in the West but the frontline against the bird flu is in Asia
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Asian battleground key to beating bird flu virus
CHINA
China: an incubator of bird flu
ASIA - EUROPE
World ill-prepared to face bird flu pandemic
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Suspect death in Jakarta fuels global bird flu fears
TURKEY – INDONESIA
Bird flu: Ankara tries to allay western fears
ASIA
Avian flue pandemic could kill up to 300 million people
INDONESIA
Indonesia's bird flu toll is rising
Asia
Bird Flu: Are there risks, cures?

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