Hong Kong culls thousands of birds over avian flu scare

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong culled 4,500 birds on Tuesday after the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus was discovered in a chicken at a local market. Health officials in white hazmat suits and masks dumped the chickens into green plastic bins at a wholesale poultry market in central Hong Kong Tuesday morning. The bins were then pumped with carbon dioxide to kill the birds. Hong Kong is particularly alert to the spread of viruses after an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) swept through the city in 2003, killing 299 people and infecting around 1,800. Bird flu scares in the past two years have seen mass culls of up 20,000 birds in Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the latest cull included chickens and pigeons. Trade of live poultry has also been suspended after authorities said Saturday the avian flu virus was found in a fecal sample collected from a chicken at a market in the Tuen Mun, a neighborhood in the west of Hong Kong.

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AFP

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