Investigation of outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in waterfowl and wild birds in Hong Kong in late 2002

Avian Pathol. 2004 Oct;33(5):492-505. doi: 10.1080/03079450400003601.


Outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza have occurred in Hong Kong in chickens and other gallinaceous poultry in 1997, 2001, twice in 2002 and 2003. High mortality rates were seen in gallinaceous birds but not in domestic or wild waterfowl or other wild birds until late 2002 when highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza occurred in waterfowl (geese, ducks and swans), captive Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) and other wild birds (Little Egret Egretta garzetta) at two waterfowl parks and from two dead wild Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) and a Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) in Hong Kong. H5N1 avian influenza virus was also isolated from a dead feral pigeon (Columba livia) and a dead tree sparrow (Passer montanus) during the second outbreak. The first waterfowl outbreak was controlled by immediate strict quarantine and depopulation 1 week before the second outbreak commenced. Control measures implemented for the second outbreak included strict isolation, culling, increased sanitation and vaccination. Outbreaks in gallinaceous birds occurred in some live poultry markets concurrently with the second waterfowl outbreak, and infection on a chicken farm was detected 1 week after the second waterfowl park outbreak was detected, on the same day the second grey heron case was detected. Subsequent virus surveillance showed the outbreaks had been contained.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bird Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Bird Diseases / transmission
  • Bird Diseases / virology*
  • Birds
  • Communicable Disease Control*
  • Disease Outbreaks / veterinary*
  • Hong Kong
  • Immunoassay / veterinary
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques / veterinary
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza A virus / pathogenicity*
  • Influenza in Birds / epidemiology*
  • Influenza in Birds / transmission
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary