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Bird flu bug hits HK chicken trade

7 years ago|95 views
A cull of 17, 000 chickens was underway on Wednesday after the discovery of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu at Hong Kong's biggest poultry wholesale market.
The virus was found in a dead chicken and in two wild birds.
Hong Kong's suspended trade in live chickens for 21 days and banned live imports from mainland China.
It's a bitter blow to the market workers.
SOUNDBITE: Unidentified poultry market worker saying (Cantonese):
"It's not fair. You should do the tests on live chickens only in that area and if you find the virus in that area then we are happy to let you kill them. But if you only pick dead chickens for testing then we don't like that idea."
Humans are not immune to the H5N1 bird flu strain.
It's feared the virus could mutate in humans into a form that would spread worldwide and kill millions of people.
Traders say all they have left is frozen chicken.
But some shoppers haven't been deterred at all.
SOUNDBITE: Unidentified customer saying (Cantonese):
"We'll go for frozen chicken if there is no fresh chicken."
SOUNDBITE: Unidentified customer saying (Cantonese):
"There's no other way. We want to eat chicken over the holidays."
The virus has become active in several parts of the world but especially in east Asia during the cooler months of the year.
It can survive much longer in a moist, cool, environment.
Paul Chapman, Reuters