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At least 60 cases of H7N9 Bird Flu Cases reported

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 14th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cases of the H7N9 strain of bird flu have been confirmed to 60 cases in China, including 11 deaths. Beijing has announced that it would close markets selling live poultry and ban live poultry trading in a move to try to halt the spread of the flu. Beijing's first H7N9 case was discovered this past weekend, a seven-year-old girl who is hospitalized and in stable condition.
 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A 67-year-old woman and a 77-year-old man died in hospital on Saturday night and Sunday morning, respectively, the Shanghai Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission said.

Among the 11 new cases are the first two cases in central China's Henan Province, according to Xinhua.

The report said a 34-year-old restaurant chef in Weishi county of Kaifeng city was in critical condition at a local hospital, while a 65-year-old farmer from Zhoukou city was in stable condition in hospital after receiving treatment.

The two men both tested positive for the H7N9 bird flu virus on Thursday.

Nineteen people who had close contact with them have yet to show flu symptoms, Xinhua said. The World Health Organization says there is no indication the virus can be transmitted between people.

The closure of poultry markets in Beijing will put pressure on China's poultry industry over what to do with chicken without buyers. Shanghai has up to 600,000 such chickens, and city processors have been deep freezing them. China is the world's second larger producer of chicken, second only to the United States.

In the Eastern Chinese cities, where most H7N9 cases have been concentrated, there have also been closings live poultry markets along with other precautions to limit the spread of the unpredictable, new virus. 

China was the epicenter of the SARS epidemic in 2003 which killed several hundred people worldwide. To date, the port city of Shanghai has had seven H7N9 deaths, more than any other city.

The virus' spread has also been affecting the country's restaurant and food service industries. Some Shanghai schools have taken chicken off their menus.

In addition, shares in Yum!, which runs the big global KFC chain, closed up 0.7 percent on Friday, although it said last week same-store Kentucky Fried Chicken sales in China in March fell 16 percent from a year earlier amid consumer worries about the flu.

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