China begins poultry cull after bird flu found

April 4, 2013

Authorities in Shanghai began the mass slaughter of poultry at a market after the H7N9 bird flu virus, which has killed five people in China, was detected there, state media said Friday.

The discovery of the virus in samples of pigeon came as health officials said they were treating a person for flu-like symptoms who had been in close contact with one of the dead, Xinhua news agency reported. There had previously been no evidence of possible human-to-human transmission.

Two more fatalities on Thursday brought the death toll from the virus to five—four of them in Shanghai—with the number of confirmed infection cases climbing to 14.

China's Ministry of Agriculture said Thursday the virus had been detected in pigeon samples collected at Huhuai wholesale agricultural market in Shanghai, Xinhua reported.

After gene sequence analysis, the national avian flu reference laboratory found the strain to be "highly congenetic with those found on persons infected with H7N9 virus".

Officials ordered the safe disposal of the culled birds, their excrement and contaminated food, and full disinfection of the market and vehicles used to transport poultry, while attempting to discover where the infected birds had come from.

Meanwhile the live poultry trading areas of another two markets were closed after separate samples showed evidence of the virus.

Chinese authorities are currently trying to determine how the H7N9 virus infects people.

Shanghai health officials said Friday a patient who had been in contact with one of the victims of the virus had been quarantined late Thursday after developing a fever, runny nose and itchy throat.

The first two deaths from the virus, which had never before been seen in humans, occurred in February but were not reported by authorities until late March. Officials said the delay in announcing the results was because it took time to determine the cause of the illnesses.

A 48-year-old poultry transporter was one of two victims reported to have died Thursday, while the identity of the other person was not made public.

Authorities had earlier said none of the eight people whom the 48-year-old had close contact with had shown signs of infection.

The World Health Organisation on Wednesday had ruled out the possibility of a pandemic stating that there was no evidence H7N9 could be transmitted from human to human, unlike the more common H5N1 strain.

But health experts have emphasised the need to quickly identify the source of the virus and its mode of transmission to reduce human exposure.

The more common strain of bird flu, H5N1, killed more than 360 people globally from 2003 until March 12 this year, according to the WHO.

In another development, a man in the central province of Hunan died from H1N1 swine flu on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

A 2009-2010 swine flu pandemic resulted in over 18,000 deaths worldwide, according to WHO estimates. But the strain, while highly contagious, is not thought to be more lethal than ordinary flu.

Explore further: Two in China first known deaths from H7N9 bird flu

Related Stories

Two in China first known deaths from H7N9 bird flu

March 31, 2013

Two Shanghai men have died from a lesser-known type of bird flu in the first known human deaths from the strain, and Chinese authorities said Sunday that it wasn't clear how they were infected, but that there was no evidence ...

WHO plays down China bird flu fears

April 2, 2013

The World Health Organisation on Tuesday played down fears over a strain of bird flu which has killed two people in China, but said it was crucial to find out how the virus infected humans.

H7N9 bird flu cases set to climb, but no pandemic: WHO

April 3, 2013

The number of cases of H7N9 bird flu in China looks set to climb as experts identify previously unexplained infections, but a lack of human-to-human transmission means a pandemic is not on the cards, the World Health Organisation ...

China reports fifth H7N9 bird flu death (Update 2)

April 4, 2013

A new strain of bird flu has claimed two more lives in China's business capital of Shanghai, taking the total number of human deaths attributed to the H7N9 virus to five, state media said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.