A strain of avian flu discovered in Hong Kong has halted the import of poultry from mainland China where the flu is thought to have originated.
On Wednesday, December 31, Hong Kong began culling 15,000 chickens and announced the suspension of imports of live poultry from mainland China after a strain of bird flu identified as H7 was discovered in a batch of live chickens from Guangdong, China, reports Reuters.
A wholesale poultry market where the virus was discovered will also be closed for the next 21 days for cleaning and disinfection.
According to Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, Ko Wing-man, the birds infected with H7 avian flu were imported from a farm across the border from Hong Kong.
“The department will conduct inspections as well as collect additional samples from all the 29 registered live chicken farms in Hong Kong to ensure that they are not affected by H7 influenza," Ko announced.
The city has just recently confirmed the first case of deadly bird flu, after a woman “fell critically ill with the H7N9 strain of bird flu,” according to Reuters. Previously in January, the city culled 20,000 poultry when birds from mainland China were found to have the H7N9 virus.