The debate over H7N9 testing of Mainland chickens being brought into Hong Kong has been a bit of diplomatic hot potato these past few weeks (see Hong Kong: No Deal On Poultry Import Restrictions From Areas With Human H7N9 Cases & H7N9: Roundup of Reports From Hong Kong & Shenzhen), with serum testing (for antibodies) finally begun just last week (see HK Standard report Imported poultry up for serum test in hunt for H7N9).
The concern being that live birds, imported primarily from Guangdong Province, could bring the virus into Hong Kong’s Markets, and potentially spread to humans.
Today Hong Kong’s Government has issued a very brief statement, indicating that a preliminary PCR test has indicated the presence of H7N9 in a batch of chickens imported from Foshan, in Guangdong Province. A region that has recently reported several human H7N9 infections.
A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau confirmed today (January 27) that the preliminary result of H7 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test on a batch of live chicken imported from a registered poultry farm in Shunde District of Foshan City of Guangdong Province was suspected to be H7 positive. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is conducting further tests and the results will be available later today.
Ends/Monday, January 27, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:03
Should these tests be confirmed, it will likely reignite the debate on the importation of live poultry into Hong Kong from places where the virus is known to be circulating.