Science

Avian Flu Halts Chinese Poultry Sales

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 17, 2017 01:57 AM EST
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Hong Kong Confirms First Human Avian Flu Case
LIAOCHENG, CHINA - APRIL 18: (CHINA OUT) Chickens are seen at a poultry farm on April 18, 2013 in Liaocheng, China. China on Thursday confirmed five new cases of H7N9 avian influenza, bringing the total to 87 cases in the country, with 17 deaths. (Photo : VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The spread of a deadly strain of Avian flu in China is causing the halt in sales of poultry. Despite reports of the flu slowing down, health authorities still issued the shutting down of the poultry market as a precaution. As many as 79 people have died from H7N9 bird flu in January, four times higher than the corresponding figure in previous years, making it the worst on record.

A part of their vow to stop the virus from ravaging their way of life, health authorities begin to tighten controls on markets and the transport of live poultry. They have also warned against panic and urged precautions. However, the high number of infected have triggered concern of a repeat of previous health crises, such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002.

Just this week, eight new human infections of H7N9 avian flu were reported. This rate have already indicated a slowing down of the spread of the disease, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said on its website. 69 new cases have been reported from Feb. 6 to Feb. 12, including 8 deaths, with just three of the 69 reported on Sunday, the Fox 6 Now reports.

To continue the battle of the virus, the commission is urging people to monitor signs of the infection closely. It had also suspended or permanently closed live poultry markets, and tightened restrictions on bird transport. "Once the virus is discovered, immediately investigate and take targeted measures to prevent the epidemic's spread," the commission adds.

According to the Channel News Asia, chicken prices have sunk in China, the world's second largest poultry consumer. The spread of the bird virus in China follows major outbreaks in poultry in neighboring South Korea and Japan. The World Health Organization made known its greatest fear of a deadly strain of avian flu mutating into a form that can be passed easily between people.

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