Sales of live poultry in Macao markets will be suspended for three days, starting from today until Saturday (6 February). The decision was made after authorities had detected the avian influenza virus subtype H7 in a local market yesterday. To safeguard public safety and minimise the risk of spreading of the virus, the Government has culled more than 15,000 chickens at the wholesale market in Macao, where birds imported from the mainland are kept before going to local markets. The action was carried out shortly after the H7 subtype virus tested positive in an environmental sample taken yesterday evening from a live poultry stall at the Patane Temporary Market. The representatives from Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau said at the press conference that the chickens suspected of being infected with the virus came from a farm in Gaoming District, Guangdong Province. The Bureau has already informed the mainland authorities about the case. A public health contingency mechanism was immediately activated once the virus was detected. It included suspending imports from the suspected farm; and a thorough cleaning and sterilisation of the poultry wholesale market and of all live poultry stalls in local markets. The three people who manage the infected stall will be put under a 10-day medical surveillance period at the Conde S. Januário Hospital. The authorities urge those who have been to the infected stall and the Patane Temporary Market yesterday to contact the Health Bureau or call the enquiry hotline (853) 2870 0800 in case of developing symptoms such as fever and cough.