China: Peregrine falcon tests positive for H5 virus in HongKong

     Preliminary testing of a peregrine falcon found in Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long has returned a positive result for the H5 avian influenza virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (April 10), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

     The sick peregrine falcon was found and collected at a construction site on Hung Yuen Road, Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long on April 9. Peregrine falcons are scarce residents and winter visitors to Hong Kong.    

     The spokesman said that three chicken farms are within 3 kilometres of where the bird was found. AFCD staff inspected the farms and found no abnormal mortality or symptoms of avian influenza among the chicken flocks. The farms will be put under enhanced surveillance.

     In view of the case, the AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.