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September
Working group reports on study to trace blood worms source
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Initial findings of an expert inter-departmental working group, set up to trace the source of "blood worms" in swimming pools revealed that there were no concrete evidences to prove mosquitoes, belonging to the family Chironomidae, were bred in pool water of the leisure pool in Tai Wan Shan Swimming Pool.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) received a preliminary report by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) on August 27. The working group convened a meeting the following day to discuss the report. Another meeting was held on August 30 and the above conclusion was reached.

The Assistant Professor of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, Dr Samson Wong, explained at today's (September 1) press conference that the water slide at Tai Wan Shan Swimming Pool might be a suitable place for mosquitoes, belonging to the family Chironomidae, to live for a short while. However, there is no evidence to confirm that such mosquitoes were bred in this environment, that is midges completing their life cycle which includes the development from eggs to larvae (blood worms), pupae and then adult midges.

Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Anissa Wong, emphasised that the LCSD had no intention whatsoever to hide information about blood worms in swimming pools.

She said: "We adopt an open and proactive attitude and the department will actively follow up on any findings about causes of mosquitoes and insects with a view to ensuring the pool environment is up to hygienic standard."

The LCSD will join hands with the FEHD to start inspection of each and every LCSD's swimming pool and water play equipment," Ms Wong added.

Furthermore, cleansing work in LCSD swimming pools have been stepped up and swimmers are strictly required to thoroughly show themselves before entering the pool.

Attending today's conference were Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong Sean-yee; Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, Mr Gregory Leung Wing-lup; Assistant Director of Leisure Services of the LCSD, Mr Paul Cheung; Consultant of the FEHD, Dr Philip Ho; Assistant Professor of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, Dr Samson Wong; and Associate Professor of the Department of Biology and Chemistry of City University of Hong Kong, Dr Richard Y H Cheung.

Meanwhile, an outdoor leisure pool of Hammer Hill Swimming Pool was closed today after over 10 blood worms were found under the artificial turf of a play equipment when LCSD staff cleaned the pool. The artificial turf was removed immediately and thorough cleansing work is being conducted.Water samples have been sent to Department of Health, the FEHD and Water Supplies Department for analysis.

Ends/Wednesday, September 1, 2004
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