Representatives from the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM), Health Bureau (SSM) and Customs Service held a joint press conference Monday in the IACM headquarters, pledging that the government will ensure that all imported poultry products will be safe and free from the avian flu virus.
According to The Macau Post Daily, the conference was held as the result of a weekend announcement by the mainland authorities that a sample taken in a poultry market in Zhuhai had tested positive for the H7N9 flu virus.
SSM Director Lei Chin Ion urged the public to take extra precautions and avoid coming into direct contact with poultry while in the mainland, as he said that the number of H7N9 cases in Guangdong has been increasing. He pointed out that poultry that carry the virus show no symptoms, commenting that this makes his bureau’s work to prevent its spread more difficult.
“The Health Bureau will not rule out the possibility of Macau or nearby regions having isolated cases,” said Lei, adding his bureau would continue to co-operate with other bureaus and keep in close contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the mainland authorities in monitoring the situation.
He also said his bureau had tested samples of 38 suspected cases of the H7N9 virus – including 14 samples last month – all of which proved negative.
Lei also seized the opportunity to urge the public to get vaccinated, saying as the flu season has progressed the number of patients seeking treatment for flu at the Conde de Sao Januario Hospital Centre has increased 50 percent.
IACM Acting President Alex Vong Iao Lek said that Zhuhai authorities have issued a directive stating that no lorries transporting poultry into Macau are allowed to drive through the neighbouring city’s poultry market.
Vong added that his bureau took 1,440 samples from poultry on Sunday to test for the avian flu virus and all the results were negative.(macaunews)