Avian Influenza
Bird Flu Scare: Swimming pool evacuated as bird flies into water
Feb 21, 2006 - 4:02:37 PM

Hundreds of panicked swimmers were evacuated from a Hong Kong swimming pool when a bird flew into the water, a news report said Sunday.

The incident at the indoor pool in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district Saturday was an indication of the level of fear over avian flu in the city of 6.8 million.

According to the South China Morning Post, around 300 swimmers were told to get out of the water immediately when a bird flew into the water Saturday afternoon.

The pool was closed for two hours for intensive cleaning and the bird was handed alive to government officials to be tested for the H5N1 bird flu virus, the newspaper said.

Fears over bird flu have heightened in Hong Kong in recent weeks after the discovery of infected chickens apparently smuggled into the territory from mainland China.

Hong Kong last week banned all unlicensed poultry farms and sent hundreds of inspectors out into the rural areas to round up and cull chickens and ducks kept at village homes.

Hong Kong has been on guard against bird flu since six people died and 12 others were infected in the first modern outbreak to jump the species barrier in 1997.

The former British colony has since imposed strict regulations on poultry markets and imports from China and has remained free of human infections despite outbreaks around the region.

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