China reports six new bird flu cases, one death, despite live poultry ban
The mainland reported six new cases of H7N9 bird flu including one death in Hunan province after live poultry markets in the province were closed last month.
The infections were reported in the last week of March by the provincial centre for disease control and prevention, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
A total ban on live poultry trading in Changsha had been in effect since March 17 and would continue for another five days, the agency said.
In March, the authorities reported an outbreak of the virus in the province originating from a farm with about 29,760 infected birds. More than 170,000 birds were culled as a result.
The number of human infections this season has surged to the highest level since 2009, with at least 162 deaths reported since October. Health authorities said that cold and wet weather in Hunan played a role in the recent spread of the virus.
Medical specialists have said attempts by mainland authorities to curb the H7N9 bird flu virus in live poultry markets came too late, with officials failing to take preventative steps before the peak flu season started.
The H7N9 virus shows little or no clinical symptoms in poultry, complicating detection. But authorities should have stepped up their surveillance going into the peak season, the specialists said.