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Report: Female Poultry Workers Most At Risk for Avian Flu

Posted: 05/29/2014 12:43 pm

avian fluA study made on Shenzhen poultry workers has brought more conclusive evidence that live fowl are the source of H7N9 infections, reports the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

An online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases jointly written by the University of Hong Kong and Shenzhen states that Shenzhen poultry workers were found to have asymptomatic or mild infections and had high levels of H7N9 antibodies as a result by a ratio of 7.2% in May and 14.9% in December of last year.

Similar findings were not found among the general public in Shenzhen, and is a rate higher than that of poultry workers in other provinces.

RELATED: New Avian Flu Cases Bring Total to 3 Since
Live Poultry Ban in Guangdong

The study also found that being female and working as a poultry worker for more than ten years are mitigating factors associated with infections, a trait which may be attributed to women being mostly responsible for many poultry-related duties including selling, defeathering, and cleaning.

The researchers suggested shorter stays in affected areas and twice-a-week disinfection protocols may limit exposure to the H7N9 virus from poultry workers.

Guangzhou recently initiated a pilot program to ban live poultry markets and distribute frozen chickens instead. However, Guangzhou residents were reluctant to partake in this plan at first, with rumors of a thriving black market in live chickens.

The last reported cases of avian flu in Guangdong Province were announced earlier this month. An 86 year-old patient surnamed Liu from Meizhou was positively diagnosed with the virus on May 15 as had a 37 year-old man from Zhongshan surnamed Wu, who was positively identified on May 16.

A total of ten cases of avian flu have been confirmed in Guangdong Province since April of this year.

Photo: Baike

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