Hong Kong confirms first case of bird flu this season

Hong Kong confirms first case of bird flu this season
PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG - Hong Kong authorities have confirmed the first human bird flu infection for this season after an elderly man who had recently travelled to mainland China was diagnosed with the deadly H7N9 virus strain.

The 75-year-old male patient, who had visited the southern Chinese town of Changping in Dongguan city this month before returning to Hong Kong, is in serious condition, the government said in a statement released late on Monday.

The case came to light as South Korea and Japan ordered further culls on Monday to contain outbreaks of a different strain of bird flu, having already killed tens of millions of birds in the past month.

Hong Kong has been battling sporadic cases of avian influenza in humans since the first outbreak killed six people in the Asian financial hub in 1997.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony an hour away from Hong Kong by ferry, culled about 10,000 chickens last week after a wholesale poultry market worker fell ill with the H7N9 strain.

The city temporarily suspended importing poultry from mainland China but resumed trade on Sunday.

South Korea confirms highly pathogenic bird flu outbreaks

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    South Korea's agriculture ministry said it will issue a temporary nationwide ban on the transportation of poultry to contain the spread of bird flu, with 43 outbreaks recorded in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

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    Since the first outbreak of a severe strain of bird flu known as H5N6 was reported on Nov.18., South Korea has ramped up quarantine measures to stop a wider spread of the virus, including issuing a 48-hour nationwide standstill order three weeks ago.

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    To prevent the spread of bird flu, the ministry said at least 8.8 million farm birds were culled and plans to slaughter 1.5 million more. That would be over 10 per cent of the country's poultry population of nearly 85 million.

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    Although cases of human infections from the H5N6 virus have previously been reported elsewhere including China, no cases of human infection have been found in South Korea.

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    South Korean health officials disinfect a stream which migratory birds stay in winter temporarily, to prevent spread of bird flu

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    A South Korean health official disinfects a vehicle to prevent spread of bird flu in Pohang, South Korea

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