BEIJING Feb 11 Authorities in China's
third-largest city warned that about 30 percent of its live
poultry markets were contaminated with the H7N9 avian flu virus,
the China Daily reported on Saturday.
The newspaper said the disease control authority in
Guangzhou, capital of the southern Chinese province of
Guangdong, urged residents to avoid contact with live poultry
after tests in the past week.
Guangzhou, a major port and transportation hub, last month
said it would suspend the trade of live and slaughtered poultry
for three-day periods through March to prevent the spread of
avian flu to humans.
The latest warning will reinforce concerns about the spread
of the virus as the death toll in China this winter hit 30 last
week and neighbouring South Korea and Japan battle major
Chinese disease control experts have warned the public to
stay alert for H7N9 avian flu, with more than 100 cases of human
infections reported over the last 2-1/2 months.
In December alone, China had 106 cases of human infections,
according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The virus is likely to strike in winter and spring, and
farmers have in recent years ramped up measures such as cleaning
regimes to prevent the disease.
China has confirmed five bird flu outbreaks among poultry
this winter, which has led to the culling of more than 175,000
Many major cities in the world's third-largest producer of
broiler chickens and the second-biggest consumer of poultry have
also closed some live poultry markets after people and chickens
were infected by avian flu strains.
Widespread infection can lead to severe health risks and big
financial losses. The last major outbreak in China was in 2013,
killing 36 people and causing more than $6 billion in losses for
the agricultural sector.
(Reporting by Josephine Mason and Meng Meng; Editing by Richard