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Woman ill after touching bird with virus

December 15, 2011
People are urged to avoid contact with birds after a woman fell ill after touching a black-headed gull which later tested positive for the H5 avian influenza virus.
Centre for Health Protection Controller Dr Thomas Tsang told reporters today the 48-year-old woman developed flu symptoms yesterday, a day after she picked up the sick bird with her bare hands.
He said the woman and her 11-year-old son have been sent to Princess Margaret Hospital for tests and the results are expected tomorrow morning. Other family members have no symptoms.
The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department collected the sick bird on December 13 from Chiu Lut Sau Memorial Secondary School in Yuen Long, where the woman works. The bird died the next day. More tests are underway.
Dr Tsang has advised the school to suspend classes tomorrow for thorough disinfection.

The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department has inspected four chicken farms nearby and found no abnormal deaths. It is reminding poultry farmers to strengthen precautionary measures.
People should call 1823 if they come across suspicious sick or dead birds.
All relevant government departments will continue to remain vigilant and enforce preventive measures against bird flu.