Avian flu outbreaks – Asia update

The various strains of avian flu continue to spread across Asia.

In China the sale of live poultry has been halted in Suzhou in Jiangsu Province following reports of human H7N9 cases. In Xinjiang Region a large poultry outbreak involving the H5N6 strain has led to the culling of more than 55,000 chickens and other poultry.

Japan has reported its seventh outbreak at a poultry farm in Kumamoto Prefecture. Japan has been battling H5N6 in wild birds and poultry flocks.

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WHO Director General warns H7N9 could be next flu pandemic

Hong Kong newspaper The Standard reports that World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun has warned that the H7N9 strain of avian flu is particularly worrying as it could be a human flu pandemic strain.

“The biggest challenge for the world is the next influenza pandemic,” Chan said.

H7N9 is unique as it does not make poultry ill but it can be life-threatening for humans. Sick birds can generally provide early warning for imminent outbreaks, Chan told The Standard.

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