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Avian Flu Claims Its First Fatality in Foshan

Posted: 02/3/2015 9:02 am

avian fluThe harsh reality of avian flu has struck Foshan as the city has recorded its first-ever fatality resulting from the transmission of the H7N9 virus. Lu, a 42 year-old woman from the city’s Sanshui area, passed away at Foshan’s No. 1 People’s Hospital.

Lu had just been confirmed as a positive case for the H7N9 virus a few days earlier.

So far this year, there has been a total 23 confirmed cases of avian flu in Guangdong.

Health authorities warn that the winter season is the time when the risk of transmission of the H7N9 virus is at its highest, and warn the public to remain vigilant and to take precautions.

Photo: pic.cnr


Hong Kong Being Hit Hard by the Flu

Posted: 01/30/2015 9:30 am

hong kong fluFlu season is hitting Hong Kong particularly hard this year, and medical experts warn that the situation is only going to get worse.

The Hong Kong Health Department announced that there have been 122 serious cases of the flu in the City this year, of which 64 people have died. Of the 122 cases, 56 were elderly, and nine were young children.

Public anxiety over communicable diseases has risen as avian flu continues to spread across Guangdong. Since mid January, 14 new cases of avian flu have been diagnosed, totalling 20 new cases in 2015.

Doctors admit that they expect more flu cases before the season ends, and urge residents to get the flu vaccine.


Photo: Phoenix Weekly


Guangdong Hit With Six New Avian Flu Cases

Posted: 01/19/2015 10:00 am

avian flu h7n9The health ministry of Guangdong has announced six new cases of avian flu in the province, raising the total to nine cases reported so far in 2015.

On January 12, the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong announced there were two new confirmed cases for the H7N9 virus, a 42 year-old Shenzhen man and a 52 year-old Dongguan woman.

On January 13, the health agency announced another two confirmed cases of H7N9 infection in Shenzhen, a 57 year-old woman named Fang, currently in critical condition, and a 41 year-old man named Zhuang in stable condition.

Then on January 14, two more confirmed cases of avian flu were announced. Both from Dongguan, they are a 52 year-old woman named Zhang, and a 37 year-old man named Xu.

These six cases join the three cases announced at the beginning of the year that include a 56 year-old man from Zhaoqing, a 36 year-old Dongguan man, and a 6 year-old Shenzhen girl.

With authorities closing live poultry markets and stopping shipments of poultry found to be infected with the H7N9 virus, governments may still have to do more to placate an anxious public. Today, Taiwanese officials released a statement refuting a rumor that chicken infected with the H7N9 virus was being sold in local markets.


Photo: People’s Daily Online


3rd Case of Avian Flu Confirmed in Guangdong

Posted: 01/13/2015 9:56 am

poultry marketLocal poultry markets are closing across Guangdong as the province announced its third case of avian flu.

The latest person to contract the H7N9 virus is a 56 year-old man from Zhaoqing. Before him, a 36 year-old Dongguan man and a 6 year-old Shenzhen girl from Longhua District, the first case of the year, all tested positive with the virus.

Neighbouring Hong Kong raised its response level to “alert” after a 68 year-old Shenzhen woman was diagnosed with avian flu on Christmas Day. It was Hong Kong’s first case of avian flu since the beginning of 2014.

Thousands of chickens were culled in Hong Kong last week after infected poultry from Guangdong was discovered. Likewise, the Longhua poultry markets announced they would be closed until January 20.

Finally, a new policy will go into effect on January 15 that will raise fines levied against those found flouting the new poultry regulations to a maximum of RMB 50,000.

Photo: News GD


In Defiance Of Live Poultry Ban, Another Dies of Avian Flu in Guangdong

Posted: 06/18/2014 11:44 am

avian flu shadowWhile the live poultry ban continues to receive a cold shoulder from Guangzhou residents, the Guangdong Provincial Health and Family Planning Committee announced the latest death from avian flu on their official website on June 17.

The case was identified on June 9. The 42 year-old patient, surnamed Wu, was living in Jiangmen at the time he contracted the disease. The report does not specify when Wu passed away.

Meanwhile, the live poultry ban in Guangzhou has continued to receive a frosty reception from consumers. Already in its second month of implementation, the pilot project that replaces the sale of live poultry at local markets with frozen chickens processed at a central facility in order to decrease the risk of avian flu has not been doing well.

In a June 11 report, shop owners complained of poor business ever since the ban was initiated at the beginning of May:

At the beginning, I could sell 70 to 80 chickens in a day, but then, that went down to only selling about ten a day. Now, it’s gotten much worse as I’m not able to sell ten chickens. Frozen chicken doesn’t taste good, and there aren’t any repeat customers.

Ministry of Agriculture Head Zheng Weiyi hopes store owners will continue to support the government policy:

Because if you (the chicken meat proprietor) wait until the market recovers, you’ll be able to make more money than other (chicken meat proprietors). Right now, you have to find the path to success again, something you may not be able to find soon, but the government policy on frozen chicken will continue to be researched and adjusted.

Xinhua report states “more than 120 people in China have been infected by H7N9 this year, with dozens of deaths”. However, A Flu Diary points out a discrepancy in the numbers:

According to last week’s CHP: Epidemiological Summary Of The Second Wave Of H7N9the first wave (spring of 2013) saw a total of 133 human cases (including 43 deaths), while the second wave (fall-winter-spring) added 315 new cases, and more than 100 deaths.

Furthermore, Flutrackers corroborates this number to be above 300.

Photo: sun0769


Guangdong Has The Worst Public Image Of All Provinces In China

Posted: 06/17/2014 5:43 pm

color river boluo county guangdong pollution waterWe’ve seen many awards handed to Guangdong province: it has the most livable city in China and cities with the best air in China, for instance. It even has some questionable awards, like having the most crowded place in the world.

However, Guangdong has now been given the dubious honor of being called the province with the worst public image in China according to a blue book report published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The report compiled more than 2,000 media reports concerning public safety, social order, the environment, public services and the performance of government officials and ranked them in terms of public image, province by province.

Tang Jun, editor-in-chief of the report and director of the Crisis Management Center at Renmin University, told Xinhua that he believes the report is a warning of the risks of the country’s rapid transformation.

We can only surmise that the culmination of all these varied awards can means that it is nice to live in Guangdong, but you shouldn’t ruin it by thinking.

Related stories that may somehow pertain to Guangdong’s public image:

Photo: Nanfang


Relax: All Those Sparrows In Jiangmen Aren’t Sick From Avian Flu

Posted: 06/4/2014 3:59 pm

grain sparrows pesticide jiangmen guangdong avian fluWhen grain sparrows started acting strangely in the City of Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, people noticed. And people got worried.

Starting last weekend, grain sparrows were seen in large numbers foraging on the ground at the Guifengshan scenic area in Xinhui District, mostly unable to fly. Those that were able to fly could only do so at low heights and for short periods of time.

As reported in the Yangcheng Evening Report, resident Mr Yang voiced his concern at the ominous signs:

At times there are upwards of a thousand sparrows on the grass; they aren’t acting very lively. Even when a person is walking right in front of them, they will still not fly away.

READ: Report: Female Poultry Workers Most at Risk for Avian Flu

That does sound strange.

Other areas don’t have the same problem. It seems to the people here that these grain sparrows are sick. Does this have anything to do with avian flu?

We’ve been hearing how outbreaks of avian flu have been happening throughout Guangdong Province for years. However, a representative for the Guifengshan scenic area provided an explanation that should ease the worry of local residents: it’s not avian flu, it’s pesticide.

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

The scenic area has been working with the forestry department to control an infestation of pine tree caterpillars that occurs annually each May and June by spraying pesticides. The sparrows have gotten sick because they have eaten the affected caterpillars.

And it’s not like the pesticides themselves are directly responsible for the deaths of the grain sparrows. In explaining the disappearance of the sparrows, the scenic area representative said:

Today, there are a lot fewer of them. In the past two days we’ve received a large number of tourists. Sometimes, people would catch or step on the birds. Park workers would stop this when it happened. When dead sparrows are found, we would promptly dispose of them.

Not avian flu at all in this scenario. What’s to worry about?

RELATED: New Case of Avian Flu Reported Despite
Plans to Ban Live Chicken Markets

Any lingering compassion for the welfare of these grain sparrows and the disruption to the local ecosystem at large should really be put aside. As the scenic area representative explains, since the use of pesticides is so effective at controlling the caterpillars, the death of the sparrows is something that cannot be avoided. The representative adds,

…we mainly spray [pesticides] in the area in which there is a high concentration of caterpillars. This will not have a great impact upon [anything else], and for this reason residents can relax.

Nothing to see here, folks. A sparrow is no canary, so by the same logic, this is no coal mine.

Photo: Yangcheng Evening Report 


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


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

Posted: 05/19/2014 12:05 pm

bird flu guangdong avian h7n9Two new cases of avian flu in Guangdong Province bring the total to three since a trial ban on provincial live poultry markets was first initiated at the beginning of May.

The two cases of avian flu were confirmed by the Guangdong Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission on their official website on May 17.

The report stated a positive confirmation for the H7N9 virus was made on May 15 on an 86 year-old patient surnamed Liu, originally from Meizhou, who currently lives in Pingyuan County, Meizhou.

Another patient, a 37 year-old man from Zhongshan surnamed Wu, was positively identified with the virus on May 16.

Both patients are hospitalized and are in serious condition.

The third case of avian flu to strike since the pilot program to ban live poultry markets was initiated is a 50 year-old Zhongshan man surnamed Liang who was positively diagnosed with the H7N9 virus on May 9.

A total of seven cases of avian flu were reported on May 1 and all throughout April in Guangdong Province.

The poultry ban replaces the closure of live poultry markets with a supply of chickens that are slaughtered and processed at a centralized location before being frozen and shipped out to markets for consumption.

The Guangzhou pilot program of the ban that began at the beginning of May initially encountered resistance from locals.

survey revealed 38 percent of Guangzhou residents are not in favor of closing the live poultry markets, while 66 percent of residents believe that frozen chicken will compromise the taste and flavor of cooked chicken dishes.

Photo: forum.china


First Case of Avian Flu Reported in Guangdong Since Live Poultry Ban

Posted: 05/10/2014 1:39 pm

bird fluThe Guangdong Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission has confirmed a new case of avian flu, reports their official website on May 9.

A 50 year-old Zhongshan man surnamed Liang, a resident currently living in Henglan village, was positively diagnosed with the H7N9 virus on May 9. Suffering from a chronic kidney disease, the patient is currently in critical condition at a Zhongshan hospital.

Prior cases of avian flu in Guangdong include a May 1 confirmed diagnosis of the H7N9 virus of a 53 year-old female patient from Luohu District in Shenzhen named Zhong, and a April 20 diagnosis of a 55 year-old patient named Wang from Shantou. 

Guangdong experienced an avian flu outbreak of five cases at the beginning of April.

In other developments, a Guangzhou patient named He that contracted the virus on April 8 has been cured and was released on April 23, while a patient named Zhou diagnosed on April 24 passed away of respiratory illness on May 4.

The May 9 report marks the first reported case of avian flu in Guangdong to occur since a six-month trial ban upon live poultry markets was first initiated in the city of Guangzhou on May 4.

The ban replaces the closure of live poultry markets by supplying chickens that are slaughtered and processed at a centralized location before being frozen and shipped out to markets for consumption.

Residents have been resistant to the new plan with sellers complaining of low sales, and few repeat customers. A black market selling live poultry has now been rumored to exist.

recent survey revealed 38 percent of Guangzhou residents are not in favor of closing the live poultry markets, while 66 percent of residents believe that frozen chicken will compromise the taste and flavor of cooked chicken dishes.

Guangdong residents have proven themselves resilient at the threat of avian flu. In April 2013, Guangdonger were photographed transporting live chicken purchases as bird culls and avian flu threats substantially lower the price of chickens.

In related news, 20,000 chickens at a farm in Pinggu, Beijing have died suddenly, though preliminary reports say that avian flu has been ruled out as a cause.

More than 120 people in China had been killed by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza as of April 21, reports Xinhua News.

Photo: Hexun

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