Bird flu suspected in deaths of a chicken in Hong Kong

Bird flu was suspected in the deaths of a chicken and egret found in suburban Hong Kong, and the fowl were being tested Wednesday for the strain that can be deadly in humans, officials said.

The tests could take several days, said spokesman Albert Hui of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

Five other birds have been found dead from the H5N1 strain in recent weeks.

The chicken and egret were found Tuesday in suburban Tuen Mun district, a government statement said.

The news came as the government sought to reduce the bird flu outbreak risk by banning people from raising poultry at home. The ban, which fines offenders up to 100,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$12,891; Ђ 10,717), starts Feb.13.

In the past year, Hong Kong officials have found bird flu in various species including crested myna, heron and magpie, reports the AP.

I.L.