H7N9 avian flu numbers increase, markets affected

White chickenAs the numbers of those infected with a new strain of avian flu rise, nations are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

As of yesterday, 126 cases of H7N9 avian flu had been confirmed, with 24 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The majority of those have occurred in China, where the infections were first reported.

Chinese officials have responded to the virus by culling thousands of birds, closing poultry markets in Shanghai, stepping up monitoring programs and ramping up testing of people with pneumonia-like symptoms.

The virus has already taken a toll on the Chinese poultry industry. In early April, Vietnam banned Chinese poultry imports and Malaysia implemented additional monitoring protocols before temporarily freezing chicken imports from China. The Philippines also temporarily have put a hold on Chinese poultry imports. An analysis by the Poultry Site also notes that although officials have assured the public the virus isn’t transmissible through properly prepared and cooked poultry, egg and poultry meat sales have begun to fall.

Additionally, the Poultry Site analysis points out corn and soybean markets may also take a hit as China is a large importer of these items for feed.

Authorities still are investigating the source of the virus. There is no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission at this time, according to the WHO.

WHO updates its H7N9 fact sheet as more information becomes available. Read it here.

For other Neogen blog posts on this topic, click here.

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