Beijing: China's bird flu crisis showed no sign of easing as another person have died from the virus, taking the death toll up to eight, even as officials claimed the deadly H7N9 strain has not sparked an epidemic among poultry. (Agencies)
The 83-year-old man, surnamed Shen, who was admitted to hospital last month and was diagnosed to have caught H7N9 bird flu on April 2, died in east China's Jiangsu Province on Tuesday, state-run news agency Xinhua reported quoted officials as saying.
Four new cases of H7N9 avian influenza were reported on Monday -- two in Jiangsu Province where the patient died, one in neighbouring Anhui Province and another case in Shanghai.
This brings the total number of people infected in the country to 24, with eight deaths, according to China's National Health and Family Planning Commission. Meanwhile, officials claimed that a preliminary analysis showed that H7N9 bird flu has not triggered an epidemic among poultry.
Of the 738 samples collected from three live poultry markets in Shanghai, where the first known human deaths of the disease were reported, only 20 samples contained H7N9 virus, including 10 from chickens, a report by a Veterinary expert published by state-run People's Daily said.
The government's chief veterinarian Yu Kangzhen was quoted as saying that it was the first time the Ministry of agriculture had detected the virus in domestic animals. In Shanghai, where five people from 11 reported cases have now died, more than 100,000 live birds have been killed in the past week at live-poultry markets across the city in an effort to contain the problem, the Shanghai Municipal Ministry of Agriculture said. A number of cities across China have also announced trading suspensions. The relationship between the virus detected in poultry and the virus that has infected humans has yet to be determined, Yu said.
The possibility of infection among animals in other regions has not been ruled out and the ministry has called for monitoring for any epidemic among animals across the nation. Yu claimed that it's still safe to eat poultry meat purchased from regular channels, such as supermarkets, as long as they are thoroughly cooked. "The virus could be killed under high temperature," said Yu.
H7N9 virus had been found in pigeons, but had not previously been discovered in humans until a series of cases were reported in China last week. Poultry markets closed over bird flu China on high alert over bird flu.
During a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, World Health Organisation(WHO) and Chinese health ministry officials moved to reassure the public about the outbreak, saying they would continue to jointly monitor the behaviour of the virus.
Beijing: China's bird flu crisis showed no sign of easing as another person have died from the virus, taking the death toll up to eight, even as officials claimed the deadly H7N9 strain has not sparked an epidemic among poultry.