HONG KONG, Jan. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Hong Kong scholars Saturday urged
strengthened measures to prevent bird flu outbreak in face of rising risk caused
by increasing human and goods movement in the coming Chinese New Year.
The risk of an outbreak of the epidemic has increased, Kwok-Yung Yuen, head
of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, told reporters
The recent discovery of the H5N1 virus in the body of a dead wild bird and
the government's decision to increase live chicken imports during the Chinese
New Year all contributed to the rising risk, he said.
Yuen noted that the current strain of the H5N1 virus can survive longer in exposed
environment compared to other strains of bird flu virus prevalent before.
He therefore called on the authorities to closely follow up the development of
the bird flu outbreak situation around the world and asked the public to pay attention
to personal hygiene so as to cut down the risk of being affected.
The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)
confirmed Thursday that the H5N1 virus had been found in the body of a dead
magpie robin in a village in the northeastern part of the city.
The authorities, however, stressed that there was still no outbreak of bird
flu Hong Kong, citing their survey of poultry farms around the territory.
Meanwhile, the government has carried out aggressive cleaning and public
education campaign to prevent the disease from enteringinto the territory.
The authorities also maintained a decision of increasing live chicken
imports from China's mainland during the Chinese New Year in late January.
Yuen said he believed the government also stepped up surveillance and
control measures with the increasing risk of an outbreak. Enditem