Two new cases of hu­man bird flu re­ported

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By REUTERS

China has re­ported two new cases of hu­man bird flu in­fec­tion, bring­ing the to­tal this week to three, stok­ing fears about the spread of the deadly virus at a time when other Asian na­tions are bat­tling to con­trol out­breaks of the dis­ease.

A man di­ag­nosed with the H7N9 strain of bird flu in Jiangsu prov­ince is be­ing treated in Shang­hai, the Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning said on its web­site on Wed­nes­day.

In Xi­a­men, a city in East China’s Fu­jian prov­ince, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties or­dered a halt to poul­try sales in Sim­ing dis­trict from Thurs­day af­ter a 44-yearold man was di­ag­nosed with the H7N9 strain of bird flu on Sun­day, Xinhua News Agency re­ported on Wed­nes­day. The pa­tient is be­ing treated in hos­pi­tal and is in sta­ble con­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Xi­a­men Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

The in­ci­dents come af­ter Hong Kong con­firmed an el­derly man was di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease ear­lier this week.

Bird flu is most com­mon in win­ter and spring, and farm­ers have in re­cent years im­proved clean­ing regimes and an­i­mal de­ten­tion tech­niques, while build­ing roofs over hen pens and tak­ing other steps to pre­vent the dis­ease.

How­ever, con­cerns re­main about the spread of the dis­ease as farm­ers in China are pre­par­ing for the year’s peak de­mand dur­ing the Lu­nar New Year at the end of Jan­uary.

In light of re­cent out­breaks in nearby coun­tries, farm­ers in China are feed­ing their flocks more vi­ta­mins, while ramp­ing up vac­cines and hen house ster­il­iza­tions to pro­tect their birds.

Au­thor­i­ties said they would ban im­ports of poul­try from coun­tries where there are out­breaks of highly path­o­genic bird flu.

China al­ready pro­hibits im­ports from more than 60 na­tions, in­clud­ing Ja­pan and South Korea.

The last ma­jor bird flu out­break on the Chi­nese main­land, in 2013, killed 36 peo­ple and cost the agri­cul­ture sec­tor about $6.5 bil­lion in losses.

He Xiong, deputy di­rec­tor of Bei­jing Cen­ter for Diseases Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol, said there is no like­li­hood that the re­cently con­firmed cases would evolve into a ma­jor bird flu out­break in China, as the virus is not trans­mit­ted between peo­ple, adding that health au­thor­i­ties are well pre­pared for the con­trol and pre­ven­tion of the dis­ease.

“Peo­ple should avoid con­tact with live poul­try to avoid be­ing in­fected,” he said.

“In­for­ma­tion ex­changes between dif­fer­ent prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on new cases is im­por­tant for the con­trol and pre­ven­tion of the virus.”

Wang Xiaodong con­trib­uted to this story.

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