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China goes on high H7N9 bird flu alert

( English.news.cn ) Updated: 2014-01-28 11:42:01

China has banned live fowl trading in some areas, after more human H7N9 infections and deaths have been reported in several provinces.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the bird flu has killed 19 in China this year, and the total number of human infections has reached 96.

Live poultry trading was halted in Hangzhou, Ningbo and Jinhua cities in eastern Zhejiang province, which has reported 49 human H7N9 infections, including 12 deaths this year. The province has launched emergency surveillance of poultry farms, haunts of migrant birds and parks, in addition to halting the flying of domestic pigeons.

Shanghai, which neighbors Zhejiang, will halt live poultry trading from Jan 31 to April 30 this year and strengthen surveillance of poultry and industry staff. The city has reported eight human H7N9 infections in January, four of whom died, including one doctor. The city's health authority will make use of media to publicize prevention information about H7N9.

Guangdong province in south China reported 26 new H7N9 cases and four deaths so far in January.

Hong Kong's health authority on Monday evening confirmed an H7N9 case at a local agricultural market and will cull about 20,000 birds in the market on Tuesday morning.

Pang Xinghuo, deputy head of the Beijing Disease Prevention and Control Center, said Monday the capital had enough test reagents for suspected H7N9 infection cases. The center will strengthen training and check-ups on infection control in medical institutions, according to Pang.

Other provinces, such as Jiangsu, Fujian and Hunan also reported new H7N9 cases.

Improved surveillance methods and networks have increased the possibility of confirming new cases, but this does not mean a more rapid transmission of the virus, said Zhong Nanshan, director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases in Guangdong province.

"It deserves high attention when the infection cases increase by dozens or hundreds of times. Currently, public panic is unnecessary given the slow transmission speed," he added.

Zhong suggested adjustments to epidemic control tactics, including the early and longer use of antiflu drug Tamiflu for H7N9 patients.

The government should explore the poultry consumption model of mass slaughter and frozen products, suggested Zhang Yonghui, director of the Guangdong Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

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