Bird flu situation in China gets worse
Chinese authorities have slaughtered over 20,000 poultry birds as the human death toll from the H7N9 virus rose to 6.
The local government in Shanghai have decided to take drastic measures in the city after more deaths were reported from the H7N9 virus. One such measure was to shut down a busy poultry market and also cull over 20,000 birds after the virus was discovered in live pigeons there. Other markets were also closed within the city. The virus is not just contained to Shanghai however as nationwide infections reached a total of 21 people.
The agricultural ministry have begun slaughtering all birds in any markets where the virus was discovered.
Scientists in the country however maintain that the virus is not spreading via human transmission and all infected people have been in direct contact with poulty. This view is also shared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is actively monitoring the situation.
The WHO has praised the efforts of the Chinese authorities after it was argued that the SARS outbreak in 2003 was largely covered up. Out of the 21 people infected, Chiense authorities believe that they have been in contact with a total of 621 people. These people are being closely monitored and are yet to show symptoms of infection.
The The US Centers for Disease Control who have a close relationship with the Chinese authorities are also monitoring the situation and worried that the virus could mutate so that it can spread via human transmission. They noted that “"This is a 'novel' [non-human] virus and therefore has the potential to cause a pandemic if it were to change to become easily and sustainably spread from person-to-person," it said in a written statement in which it also clarified that this had not yet happened.”
Locals are worried too, not only from the health risk but in terms of food. Yan Zhicheng a retired factory worker said that he makes daily trips to the market and that “"Shanghai people eat a lot of duck and chicken. Now we can't touch them.” This is bound to have a huge economic effect.
Shangai, China’s business hub, has 10 of those infections accounted for. The stock market has struggled and fallen in value with economic worries coming as a result of the virus. Furthermore an international car show based in Shanghai could be impacted negatively as it takes place later this month in April.