China Closes Live Poultry Markets in South-Central Regions

China ordered the closure of live poultry markets in its south-central regions amid the country’s worst bird flu outbreak in years.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission ordered closures anywhere with cases of the H7N9 strain. The commission is also training health workers in the screening, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Reported cases have been found mostly in areas with mild, wet winters that are ideal for the virus transmission like Yangtze and Pearl river deltas from Shanghai to Hong Kong.

More than 250 cases have been reported from 16 provinces and regions. The outbreak has already killed at least 87 people, which is unmatched since at least 2013.

H7N9 is considered to be less infectious than the H5N1 strain that has been linked to hundreds of deaths worldwide over the last decade. H7N9 is not believed to be transmitted between humans, but rather by infected poultry.

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