Sales in Macao of live poultry have been halted after a test sample yesterday showed avian influenza virus was detected in a local market, according to the Government Information Bureau of Macao (computer translated).

Public domain image/Ben Rudiak-Gould
Public domain image/Ben Rudiak-Gould

The ban on sales of live poultry will last at least three days, i.e., from Thursday to Saturday inclusive.

To protect public safety and minimize the risk of the virus spreading, the Government has culled more than 9,000 birds at the wholesale market in Macao; a place where birds imported from the mainland are kept before going to local wet markets.

The action was carried out shortly after an environmental sample from a live poultry stall at the Iao Hon Market tested positive for the virus; an H7 subtype.

A public health contingency system was immediately activated once the virus was detected. Measures taken included: suspending until further notice imports from the farm on the mainland suspected as being linked on this occasion to the virus; and a thorough cleaning and sterilization of Macao’s wholesale market for poultry, and of all stalls in local wet markets that offer live poultry for sale.

The Government had informed the mainland authorities about the case and would work closely with the mainland authorities to trace the source of the virus, said a representative of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau in a press conference held yesterday evening.

In addition, the seven people who manage the stall where the infection was detected have been placed under medical observation at the Conde S. Januário Hospital, for a period of 10 days.

Anyone that visited the Iao Hon Market yesterday – and in particular the stall where the infection was detected – and subsequently develops symptoms such as fever and cough, should contact the Health Bureau or call the inquiry hotline on (853) 2870 0800.

Once it has reviewed information from the relevant authorities, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau will announce whether sales of live poultry can resume on Sunday.