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At least 79 people have died in China after succumbing to the outbreak of H7N9 bird flu virus ever since January. The numbers is the most recorded in a single year in at least three years in the nation, according to China’s national health authority.
More than 250 cases of the bird flu has been reported to the National Health and Family Planning Commission from 16 provinces and regions, the Associated Press reported. Most of the illnesses have been reportedly recorded in and around China’s eastern and souther coast ranging from Shanghai to Jong Kong, state media said on Thursday.
Reports state that at least six more deaths from the H7N9 bird flu virus has been recorded in February so far. The rising number of the virus cases has raised concerns of a public health crisis in the nation as the number exceeds more than the 2014 outbreak in the country which had killed at least 40 people and had adversely impacted the poultry industry in the nation.
According to the nation’s health commission’s website, the number of toll recorded in January was the highest for any month since at least November 2013.
The poultry markets in the affected region have been asked to temporarily shutdown by the local authorities so that testing of the products can be done as fast as possible. Reports state that more than 30 percent of the live poultry markets in China’s third-largest city Guangzhou were recently found to be affected by the H7N9 virus.
The World Health Organisation had also released an alert recently considering China’s famous Lunar new Year celebration.
“As traditionally the consumption of poultry among the general population increases during the Chinese New Year celebrations, the movement, trade and slaughter of poultry during this period may subsequently increase human exposure,” the WHO alert had said.
The H7N9 virus which is a strain of the deadly H5N1 virus is considered to be less virulent. It is believed that the H7N9 virus is not transmitted between humans and that people get infected through affected poultry.