Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Chilled chicken tested positive with avian influenza in Hong Kong

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A sample of chicken was tested positive with avian influenza early on Tuesday in a Hong Kong shop, according to South China Morning Post. The chicken was imported to Hong Kong from mainland China where one of the worst avian influenza outbreaks has been a problem since 2013.

Hong Kong officials, including a spokesperson for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, assure the public that there is very little risk of contracting the virus from chilled meat if the chicken is cooked and handled properly.

The virus from the sample was not the same strain that has been infecting people in China. The chicken in Hong Kong was announced to be a strain of the H5 virus while the strain in China is H7N9. Though there is a risk of avian influenza mutating, the chance of that is very low, especially being on chilled chicken meat and not a live bird.

All the chicken from the batch that was tested positive has been sold before the inspection was carried out. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department have stated that officials will increase the amount of inspections and have suspended poultry exports from the vendor where the contaminated meat came from.

Consumers who are concerned of avian influenza should look out for the following symptoms: coughing, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, fever, headache, muscle aches, runny nose and sore throat. Hong Kong officials urge people experiencing these symptoms to seek medical attention, especially if it is seven days after consuming chicken that may have been contaminated.

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