Hong Kong Bird Flu Alert Status ‘Serious’

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Workers rest after mass culling - AFPHONG KONG, Dec. 12 – The Hong Kong government has raised the alert status for Avian Influenza to “serious” after the H5N1 virus was found in chickens on a poultry farm in the New Territories.

Avian Influenza, more commonly known as bird flu, can spread to humans and is often fatal, with outbreaks occurring in China in each of the past five years. The H5N1 strain of the virus is particularly virulent and is known to mutate. If such a mutation caused the virus to be more easily communicable the consequences globally would be extremely serious.

H5N1 is endemic in wild birds, and is known to spread to domestic poultry coming into contact with infected birds such as migratory ducks and other waterfowl, as well as passerines such as songbirds.

The infected birds in Hong Kong will almost certainly be burnt and a buffer area created around the outbreak area. The WHO has been alerted and they are also in Hong Kong monitoring the situation. Regular bulletins on the situation can be found on the Hong Kong government’s website.

Readers are advised there is no immediate threat or need to cancel trips to Hong Kong. We will be monitoring the situation on this site during throughout the winter and providing updates as necessary.