Avian flu strikes Hong Kong poultry farm

first_imgDec 9, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Health officials in Hong Kong today said they have detected an H5 avian influenza outbreak at a poultry farm in Yuen Long, marking the country’s first farm-based outbreak since 2003.York Chow, Hong Kong’s secretary for food and health, said in a press release today that the H5 avian flu virus struck 60 chickens, which died yesterday. He did not say if the virus at the farm was the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype.Malik Peiris, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, said it is “highly likely” that the virus is the lethal H5N1 strain, because other strains aren’t as deadly as the one involved in the outbreak appears to be, according to a report from Reuters today. “But this has to be confirmed,” he said.Chow said in the press release that he elevated Hong Kong’s avian flu alert to serious after receiving the H5 test results. He said the agriculture department will cull 80,000 chickens within a 3-km radius of the index farm and will destroy another 10,000 chickens from the area that have been transported to a wholesale market.Hong Kong’s government has also banned the export of chickens from all of the special administrative region’s farms and has halted all poultry imports, both effective for the next 21 days.He said Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection would monitor the status of the farm’s owners and workers, none of whom have developed symptoms. Chow also said in the statement that veterinary officials have closed an aviary park near the farm and are monitoring the health of 1,500 birds that are kept in other parks in Hong Kong.The length of time since Hong Kong’s last farm outbreak is a sign that the prevention measures have worked well, he said in the statement. However, he said he was concerned about the latest outbreak, because the first chickens to die were those that had not been vaccinated.According to a Feb 5 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the H5N1 virus is common and present year-round in Hong Kong, occurring in resident and migratory birds. The report said poultry farms are constantly monitored with serologic and virologic testing. All farm chickens routinely receive an inactivated H5N2 vaccine, and each flock contains 60 unvaccinated sentinels that are monitored over the lifespan of the group.In July, Yuen Kwok-yung, who heads the University of Hong Kong’s microbiology department, warned that the poultry vaccine has lost its effectiveness over the past 7 years of use, according to previous reports. He said that the virus in Hong Kong had shifted away from the Fujian strain that the vaccine was developed for and advised officials to ban live poultry from Hong Kong markets before the vaccine becomes completely ineffective.One month earlier, animal health officials had detected the H5N1 virus in poultry feces at several market stalls, but did not determine the source of the virus.Over the past few years, Hong Kong has filed several reports of individual sick or dead wild birds that tested positive for the H5N1 virus. The recent OIE report described two egrets—one found dead and one found sick in a Hong Kong park—that tested positive for the H5N1 virus in November and December 2007.See also:Feb 5 OIE reportJul 10 CIDRAP News story “Expert warns Hong Kong’s avian flu vaccine is waning”last_img read more

Immigration abuse allegation to go before CARICOM

first_img Share 27 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Tweet KINGSTON, Jamaica – An allegation by a Jamaican woman that she was sexually and verbally abused by immigration officers in Barbados before being denied entry into the country has triggered a decision by the Jamaica government to take the matter of mistreatment of its nationals in neighbouring countries to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Dr Kenneth Baugh confirmed that the matter would be raised when the Community Council, the second highest decision-making body in CARICOM, meets in Belize this week.And noting that it was not just about Barbados, he also appealed to Jamaicans to inform the government when they experience any unfair treatment in other countries.“They can call the ministry, write a report and send the information to us. I’ve asked my Permanent Secretary to document all the information so that when I go to the Community Council meeting I can give documentary reports,” Dr Baugh said.Jamaican Shanique Myrie claimed that she had to endure a cavity search and was verbally abused when she arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport on March 14. In interviews with the Jamaican media last week, she said a female immigration officer took her into a room and instructed her to bend over and, using gloved fingers, began to probe her vagina, all the while making anti-Jamaican comments.“I asked her who she was and she said ‘I am your worst nightmare’. She then said ‘All you (expletive) Jamaicans come here to do is either steal people’s man or bring drugs here,” Myrie told the press at home. “She said I hate these (expletive) Jamaicans.”Myrie said her luggage was also searched and she was placed overnight in a holding area at the airport and sent back to Jamaica the following day.The woman insisted that she had gone to Barbados to visit a female friend, but Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Harry Husbands, said that the woman was suspected of being a victim of human trafficking.“Shanique Myrie, on arrival in Barbados, claimed she would have been staying with a female resident, but a closer investigation revealed she was actually staying with a Barbadian man who actually facilitates the entry of non-nationals into the island,” Husbands told the Nation newspaper in Barbados.“Wherever these cases of facilitating are discovered, regardless of what country the individual is coming from, whether it be a CARICOM country or an extraregional country, that person is denied entry.”Husbands also said there was no record of Myrie being searched.However, the Jamaican insisted that she has been telling the truth and has threatened to sue the authorities in Barbados.“I went to visit Mrs Pamela Clarke. When I arrived at the airport they asked me who I came to and I gave them her number. They called her and she told them she wasn’t feeling well and had sent a man called Daniel to pick me up. They asked me about Daniel and I told them I did not know him. I have no reason to lie. They are the ones that are lying,” she told the Observer newspaper.Meantime, Jamaica’s Minister of National Security Senator Dwight Nelson has written to Public Defender Earl Witter to look into the matter.Source: Caribbean 360 Newscenter_img Share Share NewsRegional Immigration abuse allegation to go before CARICOM by: – March 28, 2011last_img read more