World Bulletin / News Desk
China has banned live poultry trade in several provinces amid an outbreak of the avian flu, the state media reported Friday.
"On Thursday, Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, stopped live poultry trading for the rest of the month, with all poultry markets to be thoroughly disinfected", the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Sales have also been suspended in Xiamen, Suzhou and several cities in south-central Hunan and southwestern Sichuan provinces on the order of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Xinhua said the bans have greatly reduced the number of new infections in many regions, citing Ni Daxin, deputy director of the emergency response center at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the agency, the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang is suffering the worst epidemic in three years with 35 human infections and 11 fatalities in January.
"The virus was found in 40 percent of live poultry markets this month, compared with 10 percent in September. All rural live poultry markets there were closed from Saturday", it said.
At least 269 H7N9 human infections have been reported in China since January, with at least 87 fatalities, according to Xinhua, which said most cases were around the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas.
China reported its first case of human infection with the H7N9 strain in March 2013 while the world's first bird flu case was reported in May 2014, in southwest Sichuan Province.
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