Two dead in China bird flu pandemic; Govt issues high alert as virus spreads

The incident happened in Anhui province where five people were diagnosed with the H7N9 virus.

China confirms second human bird flu infection; stops poultry sales
A health officer put culled poultry in a plastic bag at a wholesale market, as trade in live poultry suspended after a spot check at a local street market revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virus Reuters

China has reported the first two deaths from bird flu, prompting the government to issue high alert for the grave health crisis. The incident happened in Anhui province, two weeks after five people were diagnosed with the H7N9 virus. However, there has been no news about the other three ailing people.

The last outbreak of bird flu in China- from late 2013 to early 2014- killed 36 people, reported Reuters. The agricultural sector also incurred a loss of $6 billion following the spread of the disease.

Currently, the government is taking measures to combat the further spread of the virus and official are carrying out cleaning, animal detention techniques and adequate culling. In the port city of Xiamen, all poultry sales have been halted after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with the H7N9 flu, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

More than 110,000 birds have been slaughtered in the last two months to contain the infection. Though human to human contamination is rare for the H7N9 virus, however, there are high chances for the transmission of the virus in exposed to infected poultry.

The news about the death comes amid rising concern regarding avian flu in East Asian countries. While Japan began slaughtering around 210,000 farm birds in northern Hokkaido from 18 December, South Korea issued a nationwide alert to make citizen aware of the disease. It was also reported that the country has already carried out culling of at least 12 percent of its total poultry population and other quarantine measures like the nationwide standstill order has been stepped up to stop the wider spread of the virus.