This account takes stock of events and involvements, particularly on the av
ian side of the influenza H5N1 'bird flu' incident in Hong Kong SAR in 1997
, It highlights the role of the chicken in the many live poultry markets as
the source of the virus for humans. The slaughter of chicken and other pou
ltry across the SAR seemingly averted an influenza pandemic. This perspecti
ve from Hong Kong SAR marks the: coming-of-age of acceptance of the role of
avian hosts as a source of pandemic human influenza viruses and offers the
prospect of providing a good baseline for influenza pandemic preparedness
in the future. Improved surveillance is the key. This is illustrated throug
h the H9N2 virus which appears to have provided the 'replicating' genes for
the H5N1 virus and which has since been isolated in the SAR from poultry,
pigs and humans highlighting its propensity for interspecies transmission.
(C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.