Hong Kong's surveillance system for infectious diseases has not found any trace of H5 virus in its pig population, said Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong Friday.
Yeoh made the assurance after an announcement by scientists on the mainland that a strain of avian flu was found in pigs.
"We are aware that the mainland authorities are conducting studies on the possibility of bird flu in pigs, but we have no H5 infections in our pig and poultry populations, and the risk of an avian flu outbreak in pig farms is minimal," he told reporters.
Yeoh said the government will continue to monitor local pig farms, and step up inspections for imported pigs from the mainland.
Scientists on the mainland found the H5 virus in pigs tested this year and in 2003, according to China National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory official Chen Hualan.
"It is not just the first time it has been found in China but in the world," she told journalists at an international symposium on SARS and Avian Flu control and prevention.
(China Daily HK Edition August 21, 2004)