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Bird Flu in China: WHO Warns Neighboring Countries

Update Date: Jan 27, 2017 08:10 AM EST

Several strains of the avian flu are spreading across Europe and Asia this winter, and several deaths related to the virus has already been recorded in China. The World Health Organization has already advised warning about the possible outbreak caused by poultry flocks inflicted with the bird flu virus.

The H7N9 strain of the avian flu that spreads in China every winter since 2013 is the deadliest among all the strands of the virus. NY Times reported that over 225 human cases of the bird flu virus have been recorded since September 2016 and is quite high compared to the earlier cases.

With the Chinese New Year celebrations, just a few days away, poultry shipments will come in numbers and tourists and travelers are the most common carriers that cause the flu to spread.

In the last four years, China has recorded more than 1,000 cases, of which 39 percent were fatal. People who raise, slaughter, cook and sell poultry are the ones usually exposed and gets infected with the flu. Although human-to-human transmission is not yet confirmed, two cases were already associated with this cause.

Meanwhile, Reuters narrates that provinces in China are already extending their regular cleaning periods for live poultry markets to help control the spread of the bird flu. Foshan, a city in Guangdong province regularly closes that poultry market one day each month to clean and sterilize. The bird flu is usually most susceptible during the first 3 months of the year due to the cold weather.

Instead of the usual one-day regular cleaning, the market will shut down for three days, from the 16th to the 18th of the first 3 months of 2017. Guangzhou is also following this resolution to be able to help control the spreading of the virus.

Restrictions on poultry trade and suspending live poultry trading are not being implemented in several provinces in China to prevent spreading of bird flu cases. However, the WHO suggests that consumers in nearby countries should remain vigilant in consuming poultry supply to avoid possible outbreaks.

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