China: Bird Flu Gets Worse as Death Toll Climbs to 79 in January
Nearly 79 people succumbed to the H7N9 bird flu virus across China in January, according to latest data released by the Chinese government, raising concern over the fast spreading deadly virus.
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The bird flu deaths recorded in January is the highest that China has witnessed in recent years. The latest data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission shows that January's death toll numbers are four times higher than the same month in the previous year.
The total number of people who died due to the H7N9 virus since October last year now stands at 100, while the total number of people infected by the virus now stands at 306, the latest data showed.
There are serious concerns that the latest Bird Flu outbreak may create serious health crisis, similar to the 2002 crisis created by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. As a precautionary measure, the Chinese government is keeping a vigilant eye on poultry trade in several cities.
In December last year, authorities temporarily suspended the live poultry trading in Suzhou City, part of the eastern province of Jiangsu, after two people succumbed to the H7N9 virus in Anhui province.
China is not the only country that has come under H7N9. Other countries in the region South Korea and Japan have also witnessed deaths due to the deadly virus. China's semi-autonomous region Hong Kong also reported a bird flu death last month.
Meanwhile, the possibility of bird flu outbreak has taken a toll on poultry trading in China, which is one of the topmost poultry markets in the world. According to reports, the prices of Chinese chickens crashed to their lowest levels in more than a decade on Wednesday.
China's last big encounter with deadly virus happened in 2013, when nearly 36 people were killed. The country's agricultural sector also suffered economic loss of $6 billion due to the outbreak.