5 dead birds in Causeway Bay tested for virus

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 January, 2012, 12:00am


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Five birds found dead in Causeway Bay yesterday are being tested for the H5N1 virus, just weeks after a ban on live chicken sales was lifted.

Meanwhile, a ranger who handled a dead bird at a family camp site in Sai Kung last week was released from hospital last night after being admitted with flu-like symptoms.

The ranger, who found the dead bird at the Caritas Jockey Club Siu Tong Camp at Lai Chee Chong last week, came down with a fever on Friday night.

He was admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital just before 3am yesterday with symptoms including fever, tiredness, coughing, a runny nose and a sore throat.

A spokeswoman for the Hospital Authority said the ranger was discharged at 6pm after being treated for an upper respiratory tract infection. He was given medication and would not require monitoring.

The Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it had collected the five birds found in Causeway Bay, as well as the one handled by the ranger, and would carry out tests for the virus.

In mid-December, a dead Oriental magpie robin collected from the Ju Ching Chu Secondary School in Tin Shui Wai tested positive for bird flu, and soon after a dead chicken in the Cheung Shan Wan market was also found to be carrying the virus.

That prompted the government to test thousands of chicken samples from local farms, though all came back negative for the bird flu strain.

On January 1, a 39-year-old bus driver died of bird flu in Shenzhen, the first human bird flu fatality on the mainland in 18 months.

Two weeks ago, a little egret found dead in Nam Sang Wai, a Yuen Long village popular with amateur photographers, tested positive for bird flu.

Two poultry farms nearby were cleared of any abnormal bird deaths or illnesses but both were put under enhanced surveillance.

Between 2003 and November last year, the mainland reported 40 human bird flu infections, 26 of them fatal. Since 1997, the virus has killed 351 people worldwide - including seven in Hong Kong.