Hong Kong restricts poultry imports over bird flu
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong on Thursday suspended imports of poultry products, including eggs and frozen meat, from China's northeastern Liaoning province for 21 days after authorities there confirmed an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu.
Hong Kong imported about 28,000 tons of frozen poultry and 103 million poultry eggs from Liaoning in 2011.
"The outbreak in Dalian city was among chickens," said a Hong Kong government spokesman, who had no further details.
The H5N1 virus mainly affects birds, but occasionally jumps to people. Experts fear that it may mutate into a form that could spread easily among humans, who have no natural immunity against it.
There have been 24 human cases of H5N1 confirmed globally so far this year, compared with 62 in all of 2011. Of the 24 patients in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam, 15 died.
In most of these cases, the victims came into direct contact with infected birds, typically chickens. The virus is especially abundant in the feces and respiratory secretions of affected birds.
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