Bird Flu Crisis: China Shuts Down Poultry Markets in South Central Region
Chinese authorities have ordered the closure of live poultry markets in the south central region amid growing fear over fast-spreading bird flu virus. The H7N9 virus has already killed nearly 100 people across China, the highest death toll numbers in recent years, according to latest data released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Like Us on Facebook
Additionally, the commission said that it would be training volunteers to make early screening, which would enable early diagnosis and successful treatment of the diseases.
Most of the bird flu-related deaths in China have reportedly occurred in Yangtze and Pearl river delta region where major cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong are located. The region's mild, wet winter climate makes it conducive for transmission of the H7N9 virus.
China has witnessed two major epidemics killing dozens of people and causing enormous economic losses as well. The first was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002 and the second was bird flu outbreak in 2013.
Both epidemics gave Chinese authorities a wealth of experience in dealing with a health crisis. However, the latest spate of bird flu cases is still causing a lot of worry among officials and citizens alike.
The H7N9 is not restricted to China alone. Other countries in the region like Japan and South Korea as well as the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong have also reported bird flu deaths.
Meanwhile, China's poultry industry is already feeling the heat due to the bird flu crisis, with prices of Chinese chicken plunging to their lowest levels in recent decades. Chicken is one of the basic staple of Chinese citizens, making the country one of the topmost poultry traders in the world.