A University of Hong Kong (HKU) research team has detected H5N6 avian influenza (AI) virus in three samples of fecal droppings of birds taken from Mai Po Nature Reserve (MPNR), according to an announcement from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today.

Hong Kong/CIA
Hong Kong/CIA

Research team of HKU collects samples from the MPNR regularly for AI surveillance.

The spokesman said the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong, the managing organisation of the MPNR, has stepped up cleansing and disinfection of tourist facilities including bird hides and floating boardwalk. Disinfectant carpet has been placed at the entrance of the MPNR for visitors to disinfect the soles of their shoes. In addition, the AFCD is closely monitoring the situation of the birds in the MPNR and has put up notices to remind visitors to pay attention to personal hygiene.

There are no poultry farms within three kilometres of the MPNR. Since the beginning of winter, the AFCD has strengthened AI surveillance and closely monitors the situation of the local poultry farms and wholesale market. Poultry farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons are reminded from time to time to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented.

“People should avoid contact with wild birds and live poultry and their droppings. They should clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them. The public can call 1823 for follow-up if they come across suspicious, sick or dead birds, including the carcasses of wild birds and poultry,” the spokesman said.