Avian Influenza
Hong Kong people cross border for chickens despite bird-flu
Feb 3, 2006 - 3:37:37 PM

Hong Kong residents were continuing to buy poultry from across the border in southern China despite a smuggled chicken testing positive for bird flu earlier this week, a news report said Friday.

One seller at a market close to the border said Hong Kong residents would ask vendors to kill and pluck the birds to make it easier to get them through customs, according to the South China Morning Post.

Trade is good at this time of year, he said, because chicken is a traditional dish eaten over the Lunar New Year holiday.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong health authorities announced that a family of three from a village in the Shataukok border area were being kept in isolation after eating a smuggled chicken that had been kept with another bird which died of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Preliminary tests indicated the family was not infected, but further tests were still being carried out.

After the discovery, the government called on all residents within a five-kilometre-square area of the location where the dead chicken was found to surrender their backyard poultry.

Hong Kong has so far managed to avoid human cases of bird flu in the current outbreaks in Asia after it implemented strict regulations following a 1997 outbreak in which six people died and 12 others were infected.

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