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Cablegate: Poultry Ban in Wake of Shenzhen Ai Case

VZCZCXRO1083
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHHK #2508 1670740
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160740Z JUN 06
FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7318
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA

UNCLAS HONG KONG 002508

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND INR/EAP
STATE FOR EAP/EX, EAP/EP TWANG, EAP/CM KBENNETT, GWARD
STATE FOR G/AIAG JLANGE, HFOSTER, RFENDRICK
STATE FOR M/MED ADN M/MEDEX PETER WOOD
HHS FOR OGHA -- STEIGER, ELVANDER, BHAT
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC
USDA FOR DU/US LAMBERT
BEIJING FOR DSELIGSOHN, CSHAPIRO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMED ECON KSTH TBIO KFLU EAGR HK CH
SUBJECT: POULTRY BAN IN WAKE OF SHENZHEN AI CASE
CONFIRMATION

REF: Hong Kong 2469

1. On June 15, the PRC Ministry of Health notified Hong
Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) that it had
confirmed a human case of avian influenza (AI) in Shenzhen.
Reftel reported the details of this case, which involved a
truck driver hospitalized on June 3.

2. Secretary for Health, Welfare, and Food, Dr. York Chow
said that in view of the human case, Hong Kong would suspend
the import of live poultry and birds from the mainland
beginning June 16. Chilled and frozen poultry imports from
the mainland will not be affected. The ban will be lifted
after three weeks so long as no further outbreaks of AI
occur in humans or in chicken farms in Guangdong Province
and Shenzhen.

3. Chow said that mainland authorities had made a
preliminary assessment that before the Shenzhen patient
showed flu symptoms, he had paid a number of visits to a wet
market that sells live chickens. It was this direct
connection to live poultry that gave rise to the import ban,
he explained.

4. Hong Kong is also responding to the Shenzhen case with a
series of surveillance and public education measures. This
includes enhanced reporting of symptoms by public hospitals,
stepped-up inspection of poultry imports and local poultry
farms, greater vigilance by Customs with regard to illegal
imports of poultry into Hong Kong, and more public interest
announcements about preventing the spread of AI.

CUNNINGHAM

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