December 28, 2016 / 7:25 AM / 8 months ago

Now China's Wuxi to suspend poultry trade amid bird flu fears

Chickens are seen at a poultry farm on the outskirt of Hefei, Anhui province, China November 20, 2015.Stringer/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - The eastern Chinese city of Wuxi will suspend poultry trade from Thursday amid fears about bird flu, becoming the second city in Jiangsu province to halt live poultry markets, it said.

The city will close live poultry wholesale markets, restrict vehicles carrying live poultry from entering Wuxi markets and temporarily ban the entry of outside poultry, the city's information office said on Wednesday on its official microblog.

Suzhou, next to Wuxi, said on Sunday it would suspend the trade of live poultry in the interests of public health after neighboring provinces reported cases of human bird flu infections.

At least seven people in mainland China have been infected this winter with the H7N9 bird flu strain and two have died. Hong Kong reported one death on Christmas Day.

Wuxi and Suzhou lie on the shores of 2,250-sq-km Taihu lake, a favorite stopover for migratory birds, and are just west of China's financial capital of Shanghai where one case of human bird flu infection was reported last week.

Wuxi said it would strengthen efforts in monitoring the H7N9 strain and focus on disease control and prevention in places like poultry farms and migratory birds habitats.

"Winter and spring are high seasons for the H7N9 strain. Wuxi city issued the notice to protect public health and maintain public health safety," the microblog said.

Jiangsu's provincial commission of health and family planning told Reuters there were no new cases of infection.

"Local governments have already taken relevant measures, as you have noticed. There are no new cases," an official at the authority said.

Reporting by Cheng Fang, Ryan Woo and Hallie Gu; Editing by Nick Macfie

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