By Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, April 5/6, 2013
BEIJING — With confirmation that a sixth person has died from a mysterious avian-borne virus, Chinese officials escalated their response on Friday, advising people to avoid live poultry, dispatching virologists to chicken farms across the country and slaughtering more than 20,000 birds at a wholesale market in Shanghai where the virus, known as H7N9, was detected in a pigeon. [....]
[....] the deadly influenza outbreak is testing a government known for its secrecy and reluctance to divulge damaging news.
Although some critics have questioned why it took so long for officials to publicly announce the outbreak of the H7N9, public health experts have so far commended the government for responsiveness and transparency in the five days since officials identified the first victims. “It was the Ministry of Health and Family Planning that first came to us and volunteered the information,” said Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva. “Their response has been excellent.”
Health officials around the world are nervously monitoring the outbreak, which has killed nearly half the 14 people diagnosed with the virus. Although there has yet to be a confirmed case of transmission between humans, the state media on Friday reported that Shanghai officials had placed in quarantine a person with flulike symptoms who had contact with a victim of H7N9. [....]
Bird flu fears lead to Shanghai poultry market cull
By Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing, guardian.co.uk, 5 April 2013
Authorities slaughter more than 20,000 birds after H7N9 strain of virus is detected in pigeons and human death toll rises to six