China city closes poultry markets to stop bird flu

February 15, 2014

The major city of Guangzhou in southern China closed its live poultry markets on Saturday for two weeks to halt the spread of the H7N9 strain of bird flu.

The closure lasts through Feb. 28 "to strengthen work to control the spread of the H7N9 flu," the city government said in a one-sentence announcement on its microblog account.

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province, one of the hardest-hit areas in China's latest . Some 65 cases and 13 deaths have been reported by the provincial health bureau. The latest was a 78-year-old man who died Feb. 14 in Guangzhou.

The virus is hard to catch and most cases have been linked to contact with poultry.

Nationwide, there have been at least 32 deaths, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The health ministry said 127 cases were reported nationwide in January.

One market in Guangzhou, Jiangcun, is one of China's busiest, with more than 60,000 birds per day sold there last year, according to Xinhua.

The market closures add to disease-control measures that have included the mass slaughter of chickens and other poultry on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong.

Shanghai in China's east imposed a three-month moratorium on live poultry sales in January. Zhejiang province south of Shanghai has suspended poultry trading. Also in January, Hong Kong suspended sales of live poultry and imports from the mainland.

The World Health Organization says there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission but has recommended close monitoring due to the unpredictable behavior of flu viruses.

In January, authorities confirmed a second human case of H10N8, a separate bird flu strain known to affect humans. In the first case, a 73-year-old woman died in December.

Chinese suppliers are losing more than 1 billion yuan ($150 million) per month, Xinhua said, citing Chen Yingfeng, president of the Guangdong Poultry Industry Association.

During China's last outbreak in April 2012, producers lost 70 billion yuan ($11 billion), Cheng was quoted as saying.

Explore further: New case of H7N9 bird flu confirmed in China

Related Stories

New case of H7N9 bird flu confirmed in China

August 11, 2013

A Chinese poultry worker was confirmed as having contracted the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, health officials said, the first case in the southern Guangdong province.

China halts poultry trading after new H7N9 cases (Update)

January 28, 2014

Authorities in eastern China announced a ban Tuesday on live poultry sales following a spike in the number of people infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, with the busy Chinese New Year travel period already under way.

Hong Kong reports third H7N9 death (Update)

January 29, 2014

Hong Kong Wednesday reported its third death from H7N9 bird flu—an elderly man who had visited mainland China—a day after authorities culled 22,000 birds to curb the disease.

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 ...


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.