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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


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 


Shenzhen Health Dept: “Three Month Old Avian Flu Rumor is a Lie”

Posted: 04/8/2014 3:53 pm

white mask practice avian flu h7n9 Shenzhen city officials are reassuring an anxious public by dissuading any rumors that a Shenzhen doctor had contracted the H7N9 virus and died from a case of avian flu.

The city of Shenzhen Health and Family Planning Committee took to its official Weibo account to quash all rumors that any such situation had occurred at any of its hospitals, NFDaily reported. The officials called it a “complete rumor” and stated that all precautionary measures are taken during an outbreak.

If this news should prove to be comforting, it still does not come as decisive action. The rumor was first made on January 24, almost three months ago, a time made ancient by speeds of online networks; by now, James Franco would have gone on to promote his next movie with another social media hoax. But as to speculate why the Health Committee took so long in responding, it should be pointed out that a delay of three months is still not quite enough time to allow a doctor to contract the disease and then return from a state of death.

The latest confirmed case of avian flu in Guangdong was reported by the provincial health department on April 3. A 68 year-old man from Guangzhou has been confirmed with avian flu and is currently in critical condition. The previous reported case of avian flu came last week when a man in Shenzhen was positively identified with having contracted the H7N9 virus. 

At present there have been ten confirmed cased of avian flu in the city of Shenzhen: four have been treated and released, the rest have been sequestered and are receiving treatment. There are no fatalities so far.

Photo: aiqin88


Shenzhen Man Confirmed With Avian Flu, Now In Stable Condition

Posted: 04/4/2014 2:32 pm

Because it was never really gone, and you’re not actually surprised: a new case of avian flu has recently been confirmed by the Guangdong Provincial Health and Child Planning committee, reported ChinaNews.

The patient is a 37 year-old man from Gaozhou, in Maoming. Surnamed Deng, the man currently lives in Longgang District, Shenzhen. Positively diagnosed with the H7N9 virus on April 1, Deng is currently in stable condition at a Shenzhen hospital.

Avian flu outbreaks have sporadically occurred in Guangdong. Twenty-two cases of avian flu were reported from January 30 to February 9 of this year, an outbreak in which a total of five people died from the disease.

Live poultry markets were shuttered from February 13 to 28 as a result, a practical move in light of the news that the H7N9 virus was found at Shenzhen wet markets last December that nevertheless remained open for business.

All the same, we heard back in December from a scientist that assured the public the chances of an epidemic in Guangdong are low. And what did Jesse Pinkman have to say about science?

Photo: jhtong


Guangzhou shutters live poultry markets amid bird flu scare

Posted: 02/17/2014 11:03 am

Guangzhou has decided to close its live poultry markets to prevent the spread of bird flu in the city. The city announced that all live poultry markets would be closed from last Thursday (February 13) to the 28th, according to Xinhua.

The Jiangcun Poultry Wholesale Market is the biggest and busiest market in Southern China and most of the stalls were closed when a reporter visited on the 14th. Mr. Qin, who sells live ducks, said the closure is impacting everyone in the poultry business. “The closure is probably costing me RMB50 to RMB60 thousand. Although the market is closed, I still need to pay the rent, electricity and water.

“I can’t earn any money in these two weeks. Moreover, I will be worrying about losing my old customers. At the same time last year, ducks sold for RMB5 or RMB6 per jin [a unit of measurement in China], now it’s only RMB2 or RMB3 per jin. We sold more than 1.000 ducks, but now we sell 500 at most.”

Jiang Yongquan, a manager at Jiangcun, said the market has 140 stalls and sales are down by about 50% compared to last year.

Unfortunately these live poultry businesses will probably be suffering for a while yet. Beijing Business Daily reported on February 11 that the poultry industry has suffered direct losses of RMB20 billion so far as a result of bird flu. With the disease continuing to spread, there’s no word on when confidence will return to the market.

Home page photo credit: China Daily


Seeing the doc is bad luck over CNY, so bird flu spreads in Guangdong

Posted: 02/12/2014 1:40 pm

It looks like the bird flu is in Guangdong to stay. The Yangcheng Evening Daily has reported that 22 new cases of H7N9 bird flu were reported from January 30 to February 9, with at least one new case every single day, while five people have died of the disease.

He Jianfeng, an expert with the Guangdong Provincial Disease Control Center, said the disease spread over the holidays because people often buy live chickens and keep them at home during the Chinese New Year. In some rural areas in Guangdong, they are even given as gifts.

Lin Jinyan, the Deputy Director of the Disease Control Centre, added that it’s unlucky to see a doctor during the the new year period, which meant those infected were missing out on perhaps life-saving treatment.

He says live poultry markets continue to be the main conduit for the spread of the disease. So far Tamiflu, known as “Da Fei” in Chinese, is the best known vaccine but it’s still in a testing phase. Experts say it won’t be ready for sale for at least another year.


Dongguan sees Guangdong’s first H7N9 death

Posted: 01/8/2014 7:00 am

A man in Dongguan who was suffering from the H7N9 avian flu died on Monday night after suffering multiple organ failure. The Guangdong Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission confirmed the news yesterday, a day which also saw Shenzhen confirm another case of the virus, Xinhua reports.

Mr. He, 39, was diagnosed with the disease last month and 53 of his close contacts in Dongguan were put under medical surveillance. After battling the disease for three weeks, He succumbed at 11:20 on Monday night.

Then yesterday, a 31 year-old Shenzhen local was confirmed to have tested positive for the disease. He lives on Jiefang Road in Luohu District and it is not yet known whether he had been exposed to live poultry. The man took ill on Dec. 30 and was taken into Bao’an District People’s Hospital on Jan. 3 where he was given Tamiflu.

Shenzhen City Health Department has reported that he is in a stable condition. Thirty-five of his close contacts were put under medical surveillance but all have so far tested negative for the disease.

Guangdong has now seen 9 cases and 1 death. There have been 2 in Shenzhen, 1 in Foshan, 1 in Huizhou, 2 in Dongguan and 3 in Yangjiang.


Scientist: Chance of H7N9 epidemic in Guangdong low

Posted: 12/24/2013 7:00 am

A top Chinese respiratory disease expert has said the chance of an outbreak of the H7N9 bird flu virus becoming serious in Guangdong is low. Although there is no room to be complacent, this is very good news for local residents.

Dr Zhong Nanshan (who Nanfang readers have met before) said the number of people infected was small and previous serious flu outbreaks had affected a higher percentage of more vulnerable groups like the elderly,South China Morning Post reports.

Dr Zhong, a fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also told a press conference tests for the virus needed to be improved so people who have been infected get diagnosed and treated more quickly.

Dr Zhong said he could not entirely rule out the chance of humans spreading the virus to each other, but only two possible cases of human transfer of H7N9 bird flu are now under investigation in two families in Shanghai and Jiangsu province.

“These two family members engage in very close contact, which show limited human transmission,” he said.

Zhong said the condition of two of the four patients in the province who were seriously ill with the virus appeared to be worsening. This was partly due to delays in diagnosis, he said.

Three of the six people infected in Guangdong had undergone several inconclusive quick tests before doctors were finally able to confirm they had the illness with a more comprehensive genetic test. It took one patient about 13 days to be diagnosed after catching the virus.

“This shows rapid test kits are not very reliable,” said Zhong. “This needs to be improved, but it’s a worldwide issue,” he said.

The industry and commerce department in Guangdong has ordered a temporary shutdown of poultry markets for sterilisation tomorrow, at the end of the year and before the Lunar New Year holiday.

The provincial authorities said the supply of live poultry to Hong Kong would continue as long as the livestock tested negative for the bird flu virus.

It brings us great satisfaction to give you some rare good news this Christmas Eve.


Shenzhen man in critical condition with H7N9

Posted: 12/20/2013 7:00 am

Shenzhen has reported its first, and Guangdong’s sixth, case of a human infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, The Standard reports. The 38 year-old man surnamed Ou is in a critical condition.

Ou went to a clinic in Longgang District’s Nanling Village on Dec. 9 with a fever and a cough. On December 17, a sample from the patient tested positive for the H7N9 avian influenza virus at the Shenzhen Disease Control and Prevention Centre. The results were confirmed by provincial authorities one day later. He is now at Shenzhen No 3 People’s Hospital.

On Wednesday, Yangjiang was found to have its second and Guangdong’s fifth case. The 62 year-old male patient is also in a critical condition.

Guangdong appeared to have been out of the woods when the province’s first sufferer was discharged from hospital in early September. However, the province’s approach to containing the virus has been far from exemplary.


Guangdong confirms 3rd and 4th cases of H7N9 bird flu

Posted: 12/17/2013 7:00 am

After H7N9 bird flu was found at Shenzhen wet markets last week, two more people in the province were diagnosed with the virus over the past two days. Both are in a critical condition.

Shanghaiist reported yesterday that a Dongguan man was in a critical condition and being treated at Guangzhou Medical University’s First Affiliated Hospital. Then provincial health authorities announced last night that a 65 year-old woman in Yangjiang was confirmed to be the fourth case.

South China Morning Post has more:

Authorities said clinical experts had been sent to Yangjiang by the commission to provide medical guidance and conduct an epidemiological investigation.

A total of 142 human cases of H7N9 bird flu have been confirmed so far in China, including 51 cases in Zhejiang, 33 in Shanghai, 28 in Jiangsu and a handful of cases across Jiangxi, Fujian, Anhui, and Henan provinces.

Shandong, Hunan and Beijing have confirmed two cases H7N9 cases and a solitary case has been confirmed in Hebei.

Now is really the time for authorities to make sure public health is prioritised over business interests.

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