China Battles Rise Of Deadly Bird Flu, Vows To Beef Up Controls

By Staff Writer | Feb 20, 2017 06:36 AM EST

Health authorities from China are now battling what seems to the country's most deadly encounter with H7N9 or bird flu infections. The officials have reportedly closed live poultry markets across the nation in the wake of rising casualties from the avian virus.

Cited by The New York Times, Chinese state news agency Xinhua has reported that health officials have now confirmed 8 deaths and 77 diagnosed cases in February alone. It added that there were 192 people in China who learned that they were affected by the virus in January. H7N9 is an avian influenza virus that can infect humans who come near infected live or newly killed birds. 

As of this writing, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission has already barred sales of live poultry in the eastern, southern and southwestern parts of the country. The eastern section has ordered all live poultry to be closed to alleviate the surge of the deadly virus.

The group has also shared that the recent number of victims is, in fact, considered a decrease from its peak previously. NHFPC announced, "The national epidemic situation clearly shows a downward trend."

Along with the closures of live poultry and tightening curbs on bird transport, the Chinese group has also urged stronger monitoring on the flu. According to them, if the virus is discovered, people should immediately investigate and carry on measure that would alleviate the spread of the bird flu virus.

In related news, the surge of the avian flu virus has also resulted to the sinking of chicken prices. China is currently the world's second largest poultry consumer. The rising has also followed major outbreaks in poultry flocks in South Korea and Japan, as per Reuters.

China experienced its first major outbreak of H7N9 on humans in 2013. In January 2016, the country had reported 28 human infections and five deaths.

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