It appears a particular strain of bird flu has arrived in Dongguan.
Officials in the city have moved swiftly to prevent a spread of the H7 virus after a batch of chickens tested positive for the strain.
They were keen to stress the H7 virus is not H7N9, which is a sub-group that has been spreading in China. This particular strain was discovered during routine tests on chickens in the city’s wholesale poultry market.
Here’s what Luo Qifang, deputy director of the city’s Bureau of Agriculture, said according to SCMP.
We ordered the closure and sterilisation of local poultry markets on Friday after cases were reported in Hunan and Jiangxi.
It’s the first trace of the virus strain reaching Guangdong. The number of infected people nationwide has reached 124, including 23 deaths. It has spread as far as Taiwan.
The decision to order a cull comes after Chinese premier Li Keqiang made a visit to the headquarters of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing.
He urged the public to be on alert for any fresh developments in H7N9, including what officials fear is mutation that’s easily transmissible between humans.
Here’s what he told reporters, as retold by SCMP:
It’s a new bird flu virus, and we are still far from getting all of the information about it … meanwhile, we should try our best to reduce fatalities and release true data and information to the public.
Little is still known about the effects H7N9 has to humans.