An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza caused by multiple genotypes of H5N1 virus occurred in Hong Kong, commencing in January 2002. Infection in local chicken farms was preceded by the detection of virus in multiple retail markets and the main poultry wholesale market. The first case of this disease on a local farm was detected on February 1, 2002. By February 9, 2002, 15 farms were infected, and by late March a total of 22 infected farms had been identified. Three main clusters of infected farms were seen, suggesting multiple incursions of virus, and subsequent limited lateral spread to neighboring farms. Control of this disease has been effected through a combination of quarantine, tightening of biosecurity measures, and depopulation of infected and contact farms. About 950,000 birds have been destroyed. Vaccination using a killed H5 vaccine was introduced in April 2002 to farms in one zone where infection has persisted. None of the viruses isolated contained the internal genes found in the 1997 H5N1 virus.
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