The Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Mr Alan Wong, inspected the avian influenza prevention and control measures implemented at the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market today (November 8).
During the visit, he reminded market users to pay attention to hygiene with a view to reducing the risk of an avian influenza outbreak in Hong Kong.
Mr Wong first inspected the facilities and measures put in place recently to enhance prevention and control against avian influenza.
He noted that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has constructed new facilities to hold leftover local chickens, imported chickens and minor poultry separately to minimise cross-contamination. Meanwhile, the stocking area is cleaned every hour and the market floor is disinfected twice every week to keep it clean.
Staff members of the market check the chicken holding cages after washing in order to ensure that they have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and to make sure that no dirty cages are delivered to local chicken farms. Checks are also being conducted on live poultry lorries to avoid having vehicles leave the market with stains of faecal material. Furthermore, the AFCD has sent letters to remind relevant trade associations of the need to thoroughly clean chicken holding cages.
Duty veterinary officers will conduct surprise checks on market hygiene and the implementation of biosecurity measures to help market users to stay alert.
During a chat with members of the trade, Mr Wong reminded chicken transporting workers, the wholesalers and their employees to observe good personal hygiene. They must wear gloves, face masks and aprons when they handle live poultry and must wash their hands right away afterwards. He noted that the disinfectant dispensers and soap dispensers installed at the main entrances of the market and the toilets respectively are very accessible.
Mr Wong called on wholesalers, transporters and all poultry workers to receive the free seasonal influenza vaccination, which can help reduce the chance of complications and hospitalisation from seasonal influenza.
In order to help staff members of the market and live poultry workers to have a better understanding of avian influenza, the AFCD has invited members of the Centre for Health Protection and the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong to give talks on seasonal influenza vaccination and the avian influenza virus.
In addition, relevant notices and posters have been put up at places where they can be easily seen.