Bird flu prompts cull in China

Chinese authorities have ordered a mass cull of birds at a poultry market in Shanghai after the death toll from a new strain of bird flu rose to six.

Two more bird flu cases reported in China

China's eastern Jiangsu province said two new H7N9 bird flu cases have been confirmed today, bringing the total number of reported infections nationwide to 16.

Six people have died in the latest outbreak, but authorities stressed the virus remained responsive to the drug Tamiflu and those who were diagnosed early could be cured.

Virologist: China is equipped to tackle bird flu outbreak

Leading virologist Professor John Oxford has said he is confident of China's ability to deal with the current outbreak of bird flu.

He told ITV News: "China is pretty organised these days ... If anyone is going to deal with it, I think they can."

But he said the outbreak is still concerning because "it has killed almost half of the people it has infected so far".

He added that it would be of much greater concern if evidence emerged of it spreading from human to human.

Read: Can you die from the H7N9 bird flu virus?

He also urged anyone with plans to travel to China not to cancel them, but advised staying away from poultry markets and farms.

Read the Foreign Office advice on travelling to China here.

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Can you die from the H7N9 bird flu virus?

  • Is this strain of bird flu deadly?

Most previous H7 infections have resulted in conjunctivitis and mild upper respiratory symptoms, but there has been one confirmed death.

Chinese authorities have reported six deaths resulting from the H7N9 virus. Other symptoms include severe pneumonia, fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

  • How can humans catch it?

H7 influenza viruses tend to infect birds but there have been some cases of birds infecting humans, most recently in China.

The most likely cause of H7N9 transmission is from birds to animals, since in most cases the humans had contact with birds. Human-to-human transmission is still a possibility.

  • Is this like previous outbreaks of bird blu?

Other strains of bird flu, such as H5N1, have been circulating for many years and can be transmitted from bird to bird, and bird to human, but not generally from human to human.

The number of confirmed cases is still very low compared to H5N1 and H1N1 outbreaks.

(Source: World Health Organisation)

20,000 birds slaughtered as poultry market closed

More than 20,000 birds have been slaughtered at a poultry market in Shanghai as a precaution against the spread of a new strain of bird flu.

The Huhuai market was closed down and disinfected after the H7N9 virus was detected in samples of pigeons in the market.

Technicians wearing protection suits begin to cull poultry at the Huhuai poultry wholesale market
Technicians wearing protection suits begin to cull poultry at the Huhuai poultry wholesale market Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

City authorities have also suspended poultry sales at two other markets and ordered a thorough disinfection of the premises.

The culled birds, their excrement and contaminated food were all disposed of
The culled birds, their excrement and contaminated food were all disposed of Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

In Shanghai, the rising death toll has prompted some residents to stay away from markets with live chickens and ducks.

An employee wearing a protection suit sprays disinfectant on chickens at a poultry market in Hefei, Anhui province
An employee wearing a protection suit sprays disinfectant on chickens at a poultry market in Hefei, Anhui province Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Death toll from deadly bird flu rises to six in China

A patient (L) with fever receives treatment at the hospital in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province
A patient (L) with fever receives treatment at the hospital in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province Credit: REUTERS/Chance Chan

Chinese authorities have ordered a mass cull of birds at a poultry market in Shanghai after the death toll from a new strain of bird flu rose to six.

All the 14 reported infections from the H7N9 bird flu strain have been in eastern China and at least four of the dead are in the financial hub of Shanghai.

The latest death was of a 64-year-old man in Zhejiang province, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua. The report added that none of the 55 people who had close contact with him had shown symptoms of infection.