Bird flu: new strain in China. The consequences on birds

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll

Captured, cleaned, vaccinated. Or shot down. These are the different treatments reserved for the tens of thousands of birds living in China. There is only one goal: to contain the spread of avian flu. In fact, a new strain, H7N9, has already infected 28 people, killing at least 7. Cases have been reported in Shanghai and in all three eastern provinces.



Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous



Captured, cleaned, vaccinated. Or shot down. These are the different treatments reserved for the tens of thousands of birds living in China. Only one is the goal: contain the spread of avian flu. In fact, a new strain, H7N9, has already infected 28 people, killing at least 7. Cases have been reported in Shanghai and in all three eastern provinces.

The new influence would be a genetic mix generated by the crossing of migratory birds of Korea Southern and Zhejiang Province ducks. Thus, while the World Health Organization says it has not yet found proof that the virus can be transmitted from person to person and Chinese authorities are scrambling to develop a vaccine, in Shangha it has been ordered the killing of at least 100.000 chickens, ducks and geese, after a national laboratory found traces of the virus in two pigeons near one of the city's poultry markets.

But it is the pigeons that have catalysed the greatest concerns about the spread of the disease. For this reason, the Colombophile Association, which organizes the official racing pigeon races, has made it known that it plans to suspend the demonstrations and vaccinate up to 90.000 pigeons, reassuring: "at this moment, the pigeons that were in the squares and public parks of Shanghai are all in cages". "We have a lot of cages to clean," a man member of the association told the media, adding that the government has asked to keep birds in cages for at least a month.

The epidemic, of course, had an immediate effect also on the stock markets: it was above all the shares of poultry meat producers that collapsed, while the Government has undertaken to inform the WHO and neighboring countries on the evolution of the situation and the WHO representative in China has excluding a link to dead pigs found in Shanghai's Huangpu River.



Roberta Ragni

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