Chinese chicken farmers lose USD 3.3billion due to bird flu
Beijing: Chinese poultry farmers have suffered a huge loss of USD 3.3 billion due to H7N9 bird flu infections which have rapidly spread in many parts of the country this month.
Sales and prices of poultry products have slumped in the wake of H7N9 infections, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said, putting the losses around 20 billion Yuan (USD 3.3 billion).
“There is insufficient proof that the virus is transmitted from poultry to humans directly, so it is safe to eat poultry products that are bought through formal channels and quarantined,” said Zhang Zhongqiu, MOA chief veterinary officer.
H7N9 has not been detected in any poultry farm, he said, adding, there were genetic differences between human and avian viruses, as laboratory studies have shown.
The authorities found 88 positive samples among more than 1.6 million collected in ten cities and provinces including Shanghai, Zhang was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
H7N9 bird flu has killed 19 people in China this year, and human infections stood over 96, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
This is the second consecutive year of the problem as over 135 cases were reported in 2013 with 45 fatalities.
A cull of 20,000 chickens was under way in Hong Kong today after the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus was found in poultry imported from mainland China