A carcass of a black-faced spoonbill found in the Hong Kong Wetland Park (Wetland Park) in Tin Shui Wai was suspected to be positive for the H5 avian influenza (AI) virus based on preliminary testing, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said on December 6. Further confirmatory tests are being conducted.
The bird carcass was found and collected earlier at the mudflat in the Wetland Park. The black-faced spoonbill is a winter visitor mainly found in the Deep Bay area.
The spokesman said cleaning and disinfection has been stepped up at the venue where the dead bird was found in the Wetland Park. Notices have also been put up to remind visitors to pay attention to personal hygiene. The Wetland Park will keep a close watch on the situation of birds inside the Park.
Two chicken farms are within 3 kilometres of where the dead bird was found. The AFCD immediately informed the chicken farms concerned and no abnormal mortality or symptoms of avian influenza among the chicken flocks have been found so far. The AFCD will remind poultry farmers to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against AI. Pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and bird exhibitions will also be reminded to implement proper precautions against AI.
The spokesman said that the department will closely monitor poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper precautions against AI have been taken. The department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance.
"People should avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry and their droppings. They should clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them. The public can call 1823 for AFCD´s follow-up if they come across birds suspected to be sick or dead, including the carcasses of wild birds and poultry," the spokesman said.
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) will continue to be vigilant over live poultry stalls. It will also remind stall operators to maintain good hygiene.