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Hong Kong safest in case of bird flu epidemic - expert


XIANGGANG (HONG KONG), November 22 (RIA Novosti, Mark Zavadsky) - A Hong Kong medical official said Monday that the city would be the safest place in the world if a bird flu epidemic breaks out.

Dr. Leung Pak-yin of the Hong Kong Center for Health Protection said Hong Kong would have the lowest mortality rate in the event of a bird flu epidemic and would be the first in the world to recover economically because the city, he said, will be sealed off if it becomes the last remaining unaffected stronghold or if an epidemic is registered in the city.

UN officials frequently referred to Hong Kong as a good example of the fight against the bird flu and many lessons can be drawn from the Hong Kong experience, a senior UN official said.

Dr. Henk Bekedam, a WHO representative in China, also highly assessed Hong Kong's readiness for a potential bird flu epidemic. Hong Kong is best of all prepared in Asia for a possible bird flu outbreak. Since 2003, no bird flu outbreaks have been registered in the city, he said.

Hong Kong has taken measures in recent years to separate ducks and hens and limit contacts between domestic fowl and wild birds, which transmit the disease most frequently, a strategy that has proved successful, Bekedam said.

Hong Kong has also adopted a law calling for the immediate culling of all domestic birds if bird flu outbreaks are registered at two city farms at the same time.

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