H7N9 flu claims 8th life in China

9 Apr 2013, 12:00
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H7N9 flu claims 8th life in China

The new bird flu strain, H7N9 has claimed one more life in China, bringing the total death toll to 8. According to official Chinese information agency Xinhua, at least 24 people are infected with H7N9 and hospitalized.


The last death case was reported Tuesday by Jiangsu authorities. Jiangsu is located north of Shanghai where most disease cases have been observed. Jiangsu is in second place after Shanghai with eight people currently infected.


Both Shanghai and the neighbouring Jiangsu and Zhejiang, which have reported the flu cases, have restricted sale of poultry. Thousands of pigeons sold at the Shanghai market for meat were burnt after the H7N9 strain had been discovered.


H7N9 can reside in birds without actually affecting or hurting them, which makes it almost impossible to track down and eliminate. Only sizeable outbursts can be identified right now.


The WHO says the risks of contraction and transmission potential are not clear and studied yet. It is currently investigating human to human and animal to human modes of transmission, but whether the virus can spread from person to person is still unknown. 


Raising carrier pigeons is a popular hobby in China, but the birds have become a source of worry after live birds in Shanghai were found infected with H7N9.


The Hangzhou Carrier Pigeon Association is going to vaccinate 90,000 pigeons in order to save them from the flu. But effective vaccine for H7N9 has not been created yet.


The association has called to ban the races and advised its members to isolate their birds for the nearest weeks. The precautions are meant to help prevent infection with the bird flu virus.

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