The deadly H7N9 virus has been discovered in 120 chickens imported from the nearby Chinese city of Huizhou, owing to which the Hong Kong authorities plan to slaughter some 15,000 birds.
Hong Kong's health minister Ko Wing-man said, "The rapid testing showed that this batch of chickens carries the H7N9 virus." Televised images revealed authorities will begin the cull Wednesday morning. Poultry imports from the mainland have been banned for 3-weeks.
AdvertisementHong Kong last conducted a mass culling in January 2014, slaughtering 20,000 chickens after the virus was found in poultry imported from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
Recently, a 68-year-old woman was hospitalized with the virus after returning to Hong Kong from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, although it has not been confirmed how she contracted the disease. 10 people had previously been diagnosed with H7N9 in Hong Kong, including 3 who died. All had contracted the disease in mainland China, according to Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).
The bird flu outbreak, which first emerged on the mainland in February 2013, has reignited fears that a bird flu virus could mutate to become easily transmissible between people, threatening to trigger a pandemic.