Local expert recommends antibody test even if no Delta variant detected in hamster purchased

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26th January 2022 – (Hong Kong) There was a confirmed COVID-19 case detected in Tropicana Gardens in Wong Tai Sin. A government expert pointed out that the infected person had purchased hamster from the I Love Rabbit Mong Kok branch that was infected with the virus. It was suspected that the hamster virus had spread vertically through the apartment block. However, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department later stated that the hamster raised by the infected patient was not found to have the virus.

Yuen Kwok-yung, a government expert advisor and chair professor of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, said that even if the hamster had not been detected with the virus, it is necessary to test whether its body has antibodies to rule out the possibility of hamster-to-human transmission. In response to the suspected source of the virus, the Hong Kong government culled more than a thousand hamsters and small animals, and “strongly recommends” the public to hand over hamsters purchased on or after the 22nd of last month. As of yesterday afternoon, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has received a total of 104 hamsters from the public, of which 98 have been culled, 4 died of natural causes, 102 hamsters have been tested for the virus, and 1 has tested positive for the virus so far.

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