Two new bird flu cases in China amid poultry crackdown

SHANGHAI Sat Apr 6, 2013 1:08pm EDT

1 of 12. A boy looks at pigeons at a public park in People Square, downtown Shanghai April 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Aly Song

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Two more people have contracted bird flu in Shanghai, China's health ministry said on Saturday, as authorities closed live poultry markets and culled birds to combat a new virus strain that has killed six people.

State-run Xinhua news agency said authorities planned to slaughter birds at two live poultry markets in Shanghai and another in Hangzhou after new samples of the H7N9 virus were detected in birds at the three sites.

More than 20,000 birds have been culled at another Shanghai market where traces of the virus were found this week.

Officials in Shanghai, China's financial hub, closed all the city's live poultry markets on Saturday, emptying food stalls.

All poultry trading was banned in Nanjing, another eastern Chinese city, although local officials said they had not found any trace of the bird flu virus and declared that chicken on the retail market was safe to eat, official media reported.

The new strain of bird flu has infected 18 people in China, all in the east. Six people have died in an outbreak that has spread concern overseas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that 10 infected people were severe cases and two were mild cases. It reiterated there was no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission of the virus.

"More than 530 close contacts of the confirmed cases are being closely monitored. In Jiangsu, investigation is ongoing into a contact of an earlier confirmed case who developed symptoms of illness," the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement on Saturday.

There were no signs of panic in Shanghai, where four of the six people died, and people generally said they were not worried. But the culling, which has been widely publicized, did underline for some how close to home the issue had become.

"Now it's just downstairs," said Liu Leting, a user of Weibo, China's version of Twitter which has more than 500 million users.

"Suddenly I discover that I'm living in an epidemic zone!"

In one city restaurant, a waitress said they planned to stop serving chicken because of the outbreak.

"After we sell out the chicken in stock, we will not buy new chicken and will stop serving chicken dishes for the time being," said the waitress, who declined to be identified.

While the strain does not appear to be transmitted from human to human, authorities in mainland China and Hong Kong said they were taking extra precautions.

Hong Kong's government said it was intensifying surveillance of travelers and poultry coming into the city.

China's Food and Drug Administration said it had fast-tracked approval for intravenous anti-influenza drug Peramivir, developed by the U.S.-listed biotechnology firm BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Peramivir is in medical trials to prove its effectiveness against type-A and type-B influenza, the administration said in a statement. The H7N9 strain belongs to the type-A group.

Shanghai authorities have stressed the H7N9 virus remained sensitive to the drug Tamiflu and those who were diagnosed early could be cured. Tamiflu is made by Roche Holding AG.

China and Hong Kong were badly hit by a 2002-2003 epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that started in China and killed about one-tenth of the 8,000 people infected worldwide.

(Additional reporting by Farah Master in Hong Kong, and Vivi Lin and Reuters TV in Shanghai, and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Richard Meares)

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Comments (3)
bettysenior wrote:
The whole thinking behind a drugs cure for the eventual avian killer flu is totally flawed and just will never succeed. In this respect if we compare the 1918 Spanish flu, a swine flu variant (largest human killer of all time that took up to 100 million lives) and the 2009 Swine Flu, we see that a drugs cure would come far too late and most of us (between 300milion and over 1 billion worldwide is estimated) would be dead. The avian flu has a kill rate of 60% of those infected.

1918 SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC
The 1918 pandemic did its worst after the first human death between week 16 and week 26 after the second wave and where the virus had mutated into the deadly human-to-human mass killer. Up to 100 million perished out of a world population of around 1.5 billion (less than 25% of the population now). Therefore in a mere 6 months from initial human death, most had died an absolutely horrible suffocating death.

2009 SWINE FLU PANDEMIC
Time Horizons for the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic against the 1918 Spanish flu
Detection
Time Scale – 0 months
Swine Flu first detected – Influenza A, Novel H1N1 “swine flu” was first detected in Mexico City and was made public March 18, 2009. Therefore the first causality was probably at the beginning of March 2009 taking into account the incubation period.

First Death in USA
Time Scale + 2-months later
at the end of April 2009

1st Vaccine Approved
Time Scale + 6 months 2 weeks
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new swine flu vaccine for use in the United States on September 15, 2009.

Mass Vaccine 1st ready for use in USA
Time Scale + 7 months 1 week
The vaccine was first ready from mass production and used on 5th October 2009 in the USA

Most Vaccinated City in the USA by 22nd March 2010
Time Scale + 1 year 1month 1 week
Massachusetts vaccinated more residents against the swine flu and seasonal flu in the fall and winter than any other state.

Up to the end of Winter (March 2010) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says 36 percent of residents were inoculated against the swine flu, also known as H1N1, compared with 21 percent nationally. Seasonal flu vaccinations were administered to 57 percent of the population, compared with 37 percent nationwide.
A mere 36% in one USA city and where nationally only 21% had the vaccine by March 22nd 2010. This was approximately 13 months after the first human death was recorded in Mexico

It would not surprise me that those scientists at Erasmus University who are developing the lethal virus in their labs, are not the ones who are releasing these viruses under the orders of their paymasters, the global pharmaceutical companies who make tens of billions out of the drugs. Indeed it was the same scientists in 2009 who called on the WHO to call a pandemic (one was Ab Osterhaus who was the WHO’s top adviser and called for pandemic), thus releasing tens of billions of dollars in vaccine supplies and where the majority produced was unused – taxpayers around the world picking up all the costs. In this respect the top drug companies have paid over $13 billion in fraudulent fines over the last 4 years and therefore they simply cannot be trusted. These scientists are literally in their back pocket.

The only strategy that has worked (Hong Kong 1997) is to stop the virus at its source and never let it happen in the first place – prevention is better than cure thinking that has served the medical profession so well in the past to safeguard humans – http://avian-influenza.cirad.fr/content/download/1931/11789/file/Kennedy-F-Shortridge.pdf
Unfortunately the drug companies, vested-interest scientists and Nature Magazine destroyed that strategy in 2008 because there are not billions upon billions in drug sales.

When it comes and where Margaret Chan says that it is only a matter of time and not when, it will totally decimate global business and international trade.

When will the world come to their senses before is all far too late?

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation

Apr 06, 2013 11:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
chekovmerlin wrote:
Is this the Chinese version of the Biblical Plagues visited on Egypt? Pigs dying by the thousands and thrown in rivers, fish dying, horrible air pollution, avian flu? That’s four of seven. Severe floods? What’s next!

Apr 06, 2013 1:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
China is a big boy now, and must take greater precautions that this does not happen again.

Apr 06, 2013 7:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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