H7N9 Virus Continues to Spread in China

A 51-year-old Chinese woman who worked as a poultry worker was reportedly admitted to a local hospital in critical condition.

The Guangdong Provincial Health Department has confirmed that she has contracted the lethal H7N9 bird flu virus.

Ban on Poultry Markets
The afflicted woman worked in Boluo, about 129 kilometres (80 miles) east of the provincial capital Guangzhou. As many as 96 people who were reportedly in touch with the Guangdong patient had been placed under medical monitoring. Of these 54 were discharged from medical observation later in the day.

The tally of H7N9 bird flu virus also known as avian influenza A has now spiked to 134 on the Chinese mainland. The virus has snuffed life out of 44 people, confirmed state news agency Xinhua.

Since most of the people who were affected by the virus were directly in touch with the birds, the Chinese government had closed poultry markets across China with the objective of thwarting the spread of the disease.

The virus was initially reported in the month of March. It was however prevalent in eastern China only with only one case being reported from Taiwan.

No Need to Panic
The health authorities in China have assured people that the virus’s transmissibility is “limited and non-sustainable” and therefore there is no need to panic.

“Limited human-to-human transmission of H7N9 virus is therefore not surprising and, like H5N1, H7N7 and H3N2v, does not necessarily represent the early stages of a trajectory towards full adaptation to humans,” asserted Dr Peter Horby, senior clinical research fellow at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Meanwhile, multinational chain KFC as well as the business partners in the supply chain has incurred massive losses due to the outbreak of the virus in China.

China based DaChan Food, which is one of the biggest suppliers of chicken to the KFC fast food chain, revealed that the demand for chicken has fallen drastically since the outbreak of the virus.