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article imageWith seventh bird flu death, Chinese CDC warns on eating habits

By Michael Krebs     Apr 8, 2013 in Science
As the new 'novel' H7N9 bird flu claimed its seventh victim, and with additional infections blossoming across key provinces in China, Chinese authorities are now cautioning citizens to change their eating habits.
Like its "bird flu" predecessors, the H7N9 influenza virus is proving to be a dangerous threat to China's public health.
With the seventh death reported on Monday, and with infections on an alarming rise, the "novel" H7N9 avian-born influenza strain is virulent enough to trigger a lifestyle warning from Chinese authorities. According to a Bloomberg report, Chinese citizens have been advised to change their eating habits in the face of this fast-spreading virus.
“Consumers should no longer pursue the kind of eating habits where they buy fresh chickens that are butchered on the spot,” Feng Zijian, head of emergency response at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters, as Bloomberg reported. “Stalls and markets in cities where live poultry is being butchered need to be closely monitored as possible venues of infection.”
As China's populations continue to move rapidly from rural settings into the many booming urban environments, their agricultural traditions have followed them into the cities - and open market butchers are common, even among the most densely populated environments.
21 new infections have been reported, and this strain has never been seen before in humans. The H7N9 virus has a very real potential of becoming a global pandemic.
"Normally bird strains affect birds and people strains affect people. If it mutates and spreads person to person and someone with the mutated strain got on a plane, it could spread. Humans have no immunity to this strain," ABC News reported on Monday.
The H7N9 strain is particularly dangerous, carrying a 30 percent kill rate, as Business Insider tallied with the latest figures.
However, it remains unclear if the virus is being transmitted from human-to-human.
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