HONG KONG, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has announced the closure of a pet bird market after the detection of bird flu virus in a bird shop.
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said Friday that H5 avian influenza virus had been detected in a swab sample taken from a hill myna in a bird cage at a pet bird shop in Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, a pet bird market in Mong Kok.
The AFCD closed the shop and removed all its birds to the department's animal management center for disposal. It also declared the whole market as an "infected place" and announced to close it for 21 days starting Friday as a precautionary measure.
"To facilitate thorough cleansing and disinfection of the stalls, the garden will be temporarily closed with immediate effect until further notice," said a notice put up by the HKSAR government at the closed gates of the market.
A staff member of the AFCD told Xinhua on Saturday morning that there were around 60 stalls in the market and all of the shop owners had been asked to undertake a thorough cleansing of their stalls.
The Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the HKSAR government's Department of Health said Friday that it had conducted follow-up investigations in response to the detection of H5 virus.
"Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit at the bird garden this morning. A total of 33 stall operators and workers were interviewed and provided with health advice on avian influenza. All of them have remained asymptomatic so far and have been put under medical surveillance. Contact tracing is ongoing," a CHP spokesman said.