4,500 chickens culled in Hong Kong over bird flu outbreak

Hong Kong:The authorities here on Tuesday culled 4,500 chickens at a wholesale poultry market after suspending the live poultry trade in their efforts to contain the spread of the H7N9 virus or aviation influenza, detected last week. The birds at the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market were culled to "facilitate disinfection works", the Hong Kong government announced after suspending the sale of birds on Monday, EFE news reported. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department took the stringent measures after holding a meeting on Monday to discuss the sample of bird droppings gathered on May 16 from a market stall in Yan Oi market of Tuen Mun, in Hong Kong's New Territories region, which had tested positive for aviation influenza. "The local live poultry trade could only be resumed after we have completed the inspection of all local poultry farms as well as all specimens taken from these farms were tested to be negative," said Food and Health Secretary Ko Wing-man in a statement. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (ACD) had already collected 120 samples from poultry farms, all of which have so far tested negative, and will finish inspecting farms later Tuesday. Though bird flu rarely causes diseases in the birds themselves, the virus is highly pathogenic for humans, resulting in respiratory illnesses that kill about one-third of all patients, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). H7N9 was first reported in China in March 2013.