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Poultry Killed After Bird Flu Found Again in Hong Kong December 23, 2011
China bird cull
Poultry being discarded after a cull to prevent bird flu from spreading.
Hong Kong officials killed 17,000 chickens at a wholesale poultry market after one dead bird there tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

“We do not know if the dead chicken was imported from China or if it’s a local chicken,” one government spokesman told reporters.

Hong Kong immediately suspended the importation of live chickens from mainland China, and halted the trade of live chickens for 21 days.

While the disease has mainly been limited to poultry and wild birds, it can jump to humans.

Six people died of the virus in 1997 during the world’s first major outbreak of avian flu among humans.

Hong Kong slaughtered all of the chickens, ducks and geese across the territory at that time — a total of 1.4 million birds.

The virus is easily passed among birds and has historically become more active during cooler periods of the year.

The World Health Organization reports that 573 people have become infected with H5N1 worldwide since 2003, with 336 of them dying from the disease.

Photo: Government of China