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New Strain Of Bird Flu Detected In China

Bird flu has been detected in live pigeons for sale in China. So far, six people have died and 16 fallen ill.

Close-up of left-facing pigeon head

Photo: myprofe (flickr)

All live poultry markets in Shanghai will be closed starting Saturday.

An outbreak of bird flu has killed six and sickened at least 16 in China. The H7N9 strain has been found in live pigeons on sale in Shanghai and detected, for the first time, in humans.

New Strain

Previously, the H7N9 strain was not thought to be a threat to humans.

Chinese officials worked through Thursday night slaughtering pigeons. Over 20,000 birds have been killed since the virus was discovered last Sunday.

Avian flu can be passed from healthy pigeons — pigeons not showing signs of illness — unlike the last bird flu outbreak of strain H5N1.

Transmission And Containment

So far, the virus doesn’t seem to be spreading from person to person, but is instead transmitted from birds to people who had direct contact with them.

People who have come into close contact with those infected are being quarantined or closely monitored, but so far none are showing symptoms.

Pigeons are commonly consumed in China, and it’s thought the birds became infected through droppings of migratory birds.

Read More:

  • China kills market birds as flu found in pigeons (CBS News)
  • Chinese authorities kill 20K birds as avian flu toll rises to 6 (CNN)
  • Bird flu death toll rises to six in China (Washington Post)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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