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February 13, 2017

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China steps up efforts to prevent bird flu outbreaks

SEVERAL provinces in China have stepped up efforts to prevent bird flu following reports of scattered human cases of the H7N9 virus.

Authorities closed 280 live poultry trading and slaughtering venues in Suining in southwest China’s Sichuan Province after four cases this year.

Commerce officials in the city have enhanced inspections to crack down on unlicensed poultry businesses.

The central province of Hubei has set up headquarters for the prevention and control of human H7N9 outbreaks.

Health authorities confirmed 19 human cases between January 1 and February 9, scattered across several cities.

Two patients have left hospital after recovering.

The province has sent out 16 inspection teams to check on prevention efforts.

In Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province, all live poultry markets have been suspended. The province has reported 24 human H7N9 cases, including five fatalities, this year.

In east China’s Zhejiang Province, all markets were ordered to halt live poultry trading by 6pm on Saturday.

The Zhejiang Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the province had entered the high season for bird flu outbreaks.

In January alone, Zhejiang reported 35 H7N9 infections, with contact with live poultry the major source, particularly in rural areas.

On Saturday, Beijing reported an H7N9 case — a 68-year-old man from Langfang in neighboring Hebei Province.

The provinces of Liaoning, Jiangsu, Shandong, Henan, Guangdong and Guizhou have also reported human H7N9 cases this year.

Meanwhile, Taiwan reported three H5N6 bird flu cases in the past few days, and authorities are reinforcing measures to prevent further infections.

The latest case came yesterday when turkeys from a farm in Tainan were confirmed as infected, according to the island’s animal and plant inspection authority.

More than 3,000 turkeys on the farm died in an unusually short space of time before the authority conducted tests to confirm the virus.

The first H5N6 case was confirmed on February 5 in a dead goose found in eastern Hualien county.

On Saturday, samples from 3,789 slaughtered ducks, from a farm near where the gosling was found, also tested positive.

The Taiwan authority said the virus’s DNA sequence was 99 percent the same as that found in South Korea and Japan, where more than 35 million fowl have been culled in three months.


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