Hong Kong market shuts amid bird flu fears

Hong Kong market shuts amid bird flu fears

Hong Kong market shuts amid bird flu fears

Updated 19 December 2011, 16:36 AEDT

A bird market in Hong Kong has been closed down amid fears of an avian flu outbreak after a starling at a petshop tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease.

Authorities says the market, which is also a popular tourist attraction, will be closed temporarily for thorough cleansing and disinfection, and workers will be placed under medical surveillance.

All the birds at the shop where the starling was found have been removed for testing.

Infectious diseases expert Lo Wing-Lok told the South China Morning Post that around 60 percent of the H5 flu samples found in Hong Kong this year were discovered near the market.

Hong Kong was the scene of the world's first reported major bird flu outbreak among humans in 1997, when six people died.

Meantime, authorities in Vietnam have confirmed the first human death from bird flu since 2005.

Vietnamese state television says the latest victim died in the northern province of Ha Tay.

It brings to 43 the number of people killed by bird flu in Vietnam.

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