Beijing: China continues to grapple with rising numbers of bird flu cases as three more people were on Sunday confirmed infected with the deadly H7N9 strain, taking the total to 21, while official media blamed the virus on intense farming and density of population. Shanghai, China's biggest metropolis with 23 million people, is bearing the brunt of the new avian influenza as two more cases confirmed there raising the total number of cases to 10 in the city, four of whom died.
Another case was reported from Bozhou city in Anhui Province where a 55-year-old male working in the live poultry trade was confirmed to have been infected with the virus, official media here reported. In all, 21 cases were reported so far in China resulting in six deaths.
The city along with Hangzhou and Nanjing already banned the sale of poultry and culled the thousands of chickens and other birds after tracing the virus to pigeons. Besides disinfecting the schools and public areas, the city also banned public entry into bird exhibitions into zoo and prohibited to sale of wild birds as pets and banned the pigeon races, discouraging the favourite hobby of local people.
Meanwhile, health officials, according to the state-run Global Times, as ruling out an epidemic on the scale of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) which killed hundreds in China a decade ago saying that it is not likely to repeat with H7N9 this time. Pointing out the new virus has broken out in affluent areas, not poor places, the report said that agriculture, especially animal husbandry, has become more intense and populations more dense in China's southern and eastern coastal areas.
"There is greater chance of contact between humans and animals and subsequent diseases. Local authorities have to develop disease prevention and control methods to match this situation but this is a weak spot in the country's overall development," it said.