Tag Archive: Xinhua News Agency


Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

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62 12.05.2013 Biological Hazard China Multiple areas, [Provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hangzhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian and Capital City region] Damage level   Details

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Biological Hazard in China on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 13:02 (01:02 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Sunday, 12 May, 2013 at 03:42 UTC
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The toll due to the H7N9 avian influenza in China has risen to 33, with the death of an 83-year-old woman in Shanghai, officials said Saturday. The woman surnamed Jiang died Friday evening at a hospital in Shanghai, a month after her infection was confirmed, Xinhua cited the Shanghai Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission as saying. Till Saturday, Shanghai confirmed 33 H7N9 infection cases. Four of them are being treated in hospital, 15 have recovered and 14 died. China has so far reported 130 confirmed H7N9 cases, that includes the 33 deaths.

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News Analysis: China’s poultry prices to rise as H7N9 wanes

 

English.news.cn      2013-05-13 20:33:27

 

BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhua) — Prices of poultry products in China could rise sharply as early as next month as the waning H7N9 virus helps consumers regain confidence in poultry meat and eggs, experts said.Since late March, authorities have closed many poultry markets in eastern China to curb the spread of the virus and many consumers have stayed away from poultry products due to fears of being infected by the deadly virus.Since the beginning of May the number of new infections has been decreasing, according to health authorities.The new strain of bird flu, which has killed 33 people among 130 confirmed cases nationwide, has led to huge losses for the country’s poultry industry and driven many farms out of business.Due to the H7N9 virus, the country’s poultry industry has suffered losses worth more than 40 billion yuan (6.5 billion U.S. dollars), according to the China Animal Agriculture Association.”Many breeders in Shandong, a major poultry production province in eastern China, have reduced or killed all their breeding stocks in response to losses,” said Cui Zhizhong, a professor at Shandong Agricultural University.”In a couple of production cycles, poultry prices could go up sharply and this could affect the market order nationwide,” said Cui.He estimated that prices could go up in June or July.Qin Fu, director of the research institute of agricultural economics and development under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, shared this viewpoint. “As consumer confidence regains, the ensuing shortfall in supply of poultry meat and eggs will trigger big rises in prices,” he said.”The whole industry was severely hit over the six weeks after the first H7N9 human infections were reported,” said Qin

 

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News Analysis: China’s poultry prices to rise as H7N9 wanes
English.news.cn   2013-05-13 20:33:27

Earth Watch Report  –   Extreme  Weather

Tornado uprooted trees in Caojia town in Xinhua County, Loudi city in central China’s Hunan Province on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. A torrential rainstorm started on Tuesday, injuring 24 people, affecting 18,400 people, toppling 262 houses, forcing the relocation of 276 people, and damaging 6758 mu (450.5 hectares) of crops in Caojia. Rescue work is underway, according to the local government. [Photo: Xinhua]

A man is walks through the water-logged Chaisang Road, in Jiujiang city, in southeast China’s Jiangxi Province on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Rainstorms battered Jiujiang Wednesday and left millions of local residents affected. [Photo: Xinhua]

Vehicles move through the flooded Chaisang Road, Jiujiang city, in southeast China’s Jiangxi Province on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. [Photo: Xinhua]

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09.05.2013 Extreme Weather China Province of Hunan, [Hunan-wide] Damage level Details

Extreme Weather in China on Thursday, 09 May, 2013 at 04:48 (04:48 AM) UTC.

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Heavy rain started to lash 24 cities and counties in Hunan on Tuesday, killing three people and leaving 165,000 more affected, the provincial civil affairs bureau said in a statement. The rain also toppled 300 houses, forced the relocation of 1,600 people and damaged 14,000 hectares of crops. In Changsha, capital city of Hunan, rainstorms inundated roads and houses in low-lying areas and crippled traffic on Wednesday night. Rainstorms are forecast for Wednesday night and Thursday, while they will abate on Friday, according to provincial meteorological authorities. The weather is expected to clear up over the weekend.

Rainstorms continue to batter Chinese provinces

CHANGSHA/GUANGZHOU, May 9 (Xinhua) –Heavy rain in central and south China killed at least six people and left tens of thousands of people affected and much cropland damaged.

Rain-triggered floods killed three workers who were working at around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday in a sewage pipe near a bus station in Xiangtan City, Hunan Province, local authorities said, adding that the bodies of the workers were retrieved at around 10:40 p.m.

Rain started to lash 24 cities and counties in Hunan on Tuesday, killing three people in landslides Tuesday, affecting 165,000 people, toppling 300 houses, forcing the relocation of 1,600 people and damaging 14,000 hectares of crops, the provincial government said.

In Changsha, capital of Hunan, rainstorms inundated roads and houses in low-lying areas and crippled traffic on Wednesday night.

Rainstorms were forecast for Wednesday night and Thursday, while they will abate on Friday, meteorologists said. The weather is expected to clear up over the weekend.

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H7N9 may mutate 8 times faster than regular flu

Wednesday, 10 April, 2013, 12:24pm

The new bird flu could be mutating up to eight times faster than an average flu virus around a protein that binds it to humans, a team of research scientists in Shenzhen says.

Dr He Jiankui, an associate professor at South University of Science and Technology of China, said yesterday that the authorities should be alarmed by the results of their research and step up monitoring and control efforts to prevent a possible pandemic.

With genetic code of the virus obtained from mainland authorities, the team scrutinised haemagglutinin, a protein that plays a crucial rule in the process of infection. The protein binds the virus to an animal cell, such as respiratory cells in humans, and bores a hole in the cell’s membrane to allow entry by the virus.

The researchers found dramatic mutation of haemagglutinin in one of the four flu strains released for study by the central government. Nine of the protein’s 560 amino acids had changed. In a typical flu virus, only one or two amino acids could change in such a short period of time, He said.

“It happened in just one or two weeks. The speed may not have caught up with the HIV, but it’s quite unusual for a flu.”

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Health officers examine a pigeon for H7N9 at a poultry market in Changsha, Hunan province April 7, 2013. REUTERS-China Daily

 

Health officers examine a pigeon for H7N9 at a poultry market in Changsha, Hunan province April 7, 2013.
REUTERS/China Daily

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Hong Kong tightens bird flu defenses

UPDATED 3:07 AM EDT Apr 29, 2013

HONG KONG (CNN) —Officials wielding infrared thermometers are becoming more difficult to avoid at entry points from mainland China as Hong Kong strengthens its defenses against the H7N9 strain of bird flu.

Extra measures are being taken this week during an expected surge in visitors across the border for the three-day Labor Day break from Monday to Wednesday.

Up to 600 officials will be stationed at border crossings during the holiday, including more than 100 volunteers in addition to government staff, according to Hong Kong’s food and health secretary, Ko Wing-man.

“There will also be promotion and education work done at the borders reminding visitors to stay home or visit a doctor if they are not feeling well,” he added, in response to reporters’ questions on Sunday.

Along with extra screening at entry points, tour operators are also being asked to keep an eye on travelers who may be showing symptoms of what the World Health Organization calls “one of the most lethal influenza viruses” it has ever seen.

As of Sunday, the number of bird flu infections had risen to 124, based on provincial Ministry of Health websites. The figure includes one case in Taiwan, which remains the only recorded infection beyond mainland China.

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By Gu Qinger, | April 17, 2013
A Chinese health worker sprays disinfectant at a poultry farm in Baofeng on April 17. A senior veterinarian in China says the H7N9 bird flu virus caused outbreaks in poultry last year that were kept under wraps by the regime. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

A Chinese health worker sprays disinfectant at a poultry farm in Baofeng on April 17. A senior veterinarian in China says the H7N9 bird flu virus caused outbreaks in poultry last year that were kept under wraps by the regime. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

“Bird flu among poultry has contaminated the environment, turning the air into a reservoir for the virus, and that is how H7N9 started infecting people in Shanghai.” Senior vet Lin Huatai

Since late last year, the Chinese Communist Party has been covering up the worst bird flu outbreak in poultry for over 10 years, according to a senior veterinarian, who has worked with poultry farmers for several decades.

Using the alias Lin Huatai, the vet said in an exclusive interview that the new virus has been spreading through poultry since late November, from eastern China to the southwest.

According to Lin, bird flus with low avian pathogenicity are common in China, whereas highly virulent ones usually strike localized areas. He said the epidemic happened in chickens in Henan, Shanxi, and Shaanxi provinces, and ducks in Sichuan Province. “Shaanxi previously had more than 20 million chickens, but now there are only 7 to 8 million,” Lin said, adding that it has been over a decade since he saw so many chickens dying like this.

The outbreak may have originated in Shijiazhuang in northern Hebei Province last April and May, when 80 percent of poultry died, creating huge losses for farmers, but “no media reported on it,” Lin said.

Apparently the authorities usually withhold information about bird flu outbreaks to avoid the huge slaughtering costs involved.

“It doesn’t matter whether the bird flu happens in chickens, pigs, or ducks–the government definitely doesn’t want such news to spread,” he said. “The international practice is to cull the animals. It’s impossible to kill them all–there are tens of billions of them–it’s too expensive to kill them all!”

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China bird flu case count rises to 83

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
April 18, 2013 — Updated 0838 GMT (1638 HKT)
Pedestrians in Shanghai wear face masks to protect themselves from the H7N9 bird flu virus on Tuesday, April 16. At least 60 people have been infected and 13 have died in the past two weeks from the disease, according to Xinhua news agency. Pedestrians in Shanghai wear face masks to protect themselves from the H7N9 bird flu virus on Tuesday, April 16. At least 60 people have been infected and 13 have died in the past two weeks from the disease, according to Xinhua news agency.
Map: Bird flu spreadMap: Bird flu spread
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: One new case reported in Henan, taking total flu cases to 83, Xinhua reports
  • Authorities still investigating whether cases are spread human to human
  • Five people who contracted virus have left hospital after treatment
  • China has invited international experts to examine virus’ spread

Hong Kong (CNN) — Another case of bird flu has been reported in China, taking the total infection count to 83 people, as health authorities inside and outside the country try to determine how to stop its spread.

The most recent case was detected in a 38-year-old poultry trader in Henan province, according to state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation said an additional 19 cases were found in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu as well as the city of Shanghai.

Seventeen people have died from the H7N9 strain of the virus which, while common in birds, hadn’t been detected in humans before the first cases were reported in March.

The WHO says it’s still exploring the possibility whether the virus can be spread between people.

“In a significant percentage of cases there is no known contact with poultry. It means that we still don’t know what the disease reservoir is,” WHO spokesman Timothy O’Leary told CNN.

“We need to establish where the virus is living in which animal it has its reservoir and then try to figure out how it’s being transmitted to people. All the evidence points to animal-to-human transmission but which animal and how is it being transmitted? This is the big mystery.”

Authorities are monitoring more than 1,000 people who have come into close contact with confirmed cases, but O’Leary stressed “so far there’s no evidence of ongoing or sustained human-to-human transition of the virus.”

Particular attention is being paid to clusters of people who have contracted the illness, including one family where a father and two sons fell ill.

 

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Sparrows Found Dead in Chinese City Where Bird Flu Claimed 2

Numerous dead sparrows were discovered in Nanjing on Friday, the same day that two new cases of the H7N9 bird flu were confirmed in the city. The Jiangsu capital has now banned all live poultry sales.

Photos of the dead birds were circulated online, and a Nanjing netizen said locals are very worried. They don’t know why the sparrows died, but fear it could be linked with the deadly bird flu outbreak, which has claimed six lives in eastern China, according to the latest official reports.

A Nanjing local government spokesperson said at a press conference Saturday that experts had collected samples from the dead birds for analysis at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Deadly New Bird Flu Virus in China Possibly Linked to Dead Pigs

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A new and deadly strain of bird flu is threatening two eastern Chinese provinces, with health authorities and virologists suspecting that a virus mutation is the link between the dead pigs that floated past Shanghai, dead migratory birds in north China, and the deaths of three people.

Two new cases of H7N9 bird flu, one of them fatal, have been reported in east China’s Zhejiang Province, bringing the total number of infections in the country to nine, according to a report by Chinese regime’s state media Xinhua.

Seven other H7N9 bird flu cases had been reported previously, with two people dying in Shanghai, one critical case in Anhui and four critical cases in Jiangsu, according to the report.

None of those who died had any links to poultry, though one of the men who died, Mr. Wu, was a pork butcher, according to the Guardian and Shanghai Daily.

On April 2, following the deaths of the two men, Shanghai authorities issued a level-three flu alert, the second-lowest stage of four levels. The authorities also claimed that no new cases had been reported in Shanghai.

However, Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po reported that Shanghai authorities failed to report five previous severe cases of pneumonia caused by unidentified pathogens. The cases tested negative for SARS, but it reminded unclear if the cases have been tested for bird flu virus or not.

A respiratory specialist working in a Shanghai hospital spoke on condition of anonymity to Wen Wei Pao, saying that the hospital has seen a dramatic increase in severe cases of pneumonia caused by unidentified pathogens, with five cases in a two-week period in March. Usually they only treat an average of two to three cases in a one-year period, the source said.

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The H7N9 Bird Flu is Highly Virulent, Mutates Fast, Research Suggests

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Two new cases of bird flu were reported in Henan Province on Sunday, bringing the number of people infected to over 50—13 of whom have died, according to state mouthpiece Xinhua—and marking the first occasion that the dangerously malleable virus has been reported to have spread to central China.

Chinese and international scientists have been busy studying the virus now that the entire genome has been sequenced. New research shows that H7N9 can change rapidly, potentially producing mutations that make it more infectious.

Scientists in Shenzhen found that a protein that binds H7N9 to its host’s cells could be mutating up to eight times faster than in a typical flu virus.

Dr. He Jiankui at South University of Science and Technology of China and colleagues found rapid mutation in hemagglutinin in one of the samples, with nine of 560 amino acids changed in a very short time period, compared with only one or two in a standard flu virus.

“It happened in just one or two weeks,” Dr. He told the South China Morning Post. “The speed may not have caught up with HIV, but it’s quite unusual for a flu.”

“We don’t know whether it will evolve into something harmless or dangerous,” Dr. He added. “Our samples are too limited. But the authorities should definitely be alarmed and get prepared for the worst-case scenario.”

In another paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Chinese researchers described H7N9 as a “novel reassortant influenza A” virus with genetic similarities to strains found in three different birds–a Beijing finch, and ducks from Zhejiang Province and Korea.

The scientists are unsure how the new strain developed, as there is no evidence the reassortment took place in a mammalian host. Given the similarity of the human virus to the three avian strains, it is more likely to have been transmitted directly by birds.

Two of the three victims sampled were known to have had contact with live birds before they developed the disease. Although it causes little harm in poultry, the team noted that H7N9 can lead to “severe human infection,” with fever and coughing the most common early symptoms. The three Chinese later suffered acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, and multiple organ failure.

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Bird Flu Death Toll Rises Alongside Censored Online Comments

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An eighth person has died from the H7N9 bird flu strain out of 24 people infected, according to the latest official figures from the Chinese regime.

Most of the cases are in eastern China’s Yangtze River delta region, with eight in Jiangsu, two in Anhui, three in Zhejiang, and eleven in Shanghai, where five of the deaths occurred.

Communist Party leader Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang sent a message to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, urging officials to “do well with assisting patients,” and in disease control and prevention, the Ministry of Health posted on its website Sunday.

In Hong Kong, several suspected cases of bird flu were being tested for the virus, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.

The China representative for the World Health Organization said at a Beijing press conference Monday that there is still no evidence of “sustained human-to-human transmission.” A health official added that 621 people who have been in close contact with patients are being monitored with no abnormalities observed.

WHO is preparing to send international experts to China to assist with investigating the deadly new virus, and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned consumers to avoid live poultry markets where birds are butchered.

Internet Censored

Hong Kong news reporters and Beijing health workers blogged cautious warnings of their own, which were quickly deleted from Weibo by content checkers.

Around 6 p.m. on April 5, a netizen said on his microblog that Hong Kong reporters at a range of newspapers were being called back from the mainland. A cell phone screen shot showing Oriental Daily’s internal email notice was published alongside the message. The post was promptly deleted.

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Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

Updating: 09:48, 11 April 2013 Thursday
China finds bird flu in five new sites-OIE

China said the H7N9 avian influenza virus was found on Wednesday in three live bird markets in Jiangsu province, one in Anhui province and one in Zhejiang province

11.04.2013 Biological Hazard China Multiple areas, [Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces] Damage level
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Biological Hazard in China on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 13:02 (01:02 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Wednesday, 10 April, 2013 at 04:29 UTC
Description
China reported two more fatalities from a new strain of avian flu on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to nine, and raised the total number of infections by four to 28 as the government renewed efforts to combat the spread of the disease. Government officials said an 83-year-old man in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu died of the H7N9 bird flu on Tuesday. He went to a local hospital on March 20 with flulike symptoms and was diagnosed with the disease on April 2.

Biological Hazard in China on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 13:02 (01:02 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Wednesday, 10 April, 2013 at 06:57 UTC
Description
The new bird flu could be mutating up to eight times faster than an average flu virus around a protein that binds it to humans, a team of research scientists in Shenzhen says. Dr He Jiankui, an associate professor at South University of Science and Technology of China, said yesterday that the authorities should be alarmed by the results of their research and step up monitoring and control efforts to prevent a possible pandemic. With genetic code of the virus obtained from mainland authorities, the team scrutinised haemagglutinin, a protein that plays a crucial rule in the process of infection. The protein binds the virus to an animal cell, such as respiratory cells in humans, and bores a hole in the cell’s membrane to allow entry by the virus.

The researchers found dramatic mutation of haemagglutinin in one of the four flu strains released for study by the central government. Nine of the protein’s 560 amino acids had changed. In a typical flu virus, only one or two amino acids could change in such a short period of time, He said. “It happened in just one or two weeks. The speed may not have caught up with the HIV, but it’s quite unusual for a flu.” The fast mutation makes the virus’ evolutionary development very hard to predict. “We don’t know whether it will evolve into something harmless or dangerous,” He said. “Our samples are too limited. But the authorities should definitely be alarmed and get prepared for the worst-case scenario.” The origin of the virus was puzzling due to its novelty, but He’s research suggested some clues that differ from the mainland authorities’ theories.

His team compared the new virus strain to all other H7N9 viruses identified in Europe and in other Asian countries that were cited by the Ministry of Agriculture as possible origins of the new bird flu, but found them all very different. In fact, the new bird flu was quite similar to some familiar domestic viruses such as H9N2, H11N9 and H7N3 found in Zhejiang and Jiangsu. He said researchers could not rule out the possibility that the new virus was carried into China by wild birds, but it was more likely to be of local origin.

Biological Hazard in China on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 13:02 (01:02 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Wednesday, 10 April, 2013 at 11:24 UTC
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Nine people have died and 28 are confirmed infected with a new type of bird flu in eastern China, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday. But officials say China’s come a long way in watching for and controlling new disease outbreaks. Chinese authorities are rushing to test patients with respiratory illness to see how far the new H7N9 bird flu has spread. They’re also starting culls of chickens and other birds, which are suspected of spreading the infection, and have closed some live bird markets. The new strain of flu — never before seen to cause serious illness in people — appears to have first started making people ill in February. Chinese authorites announced the first cases in March. On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, in Atlanta in response to the H7N9 outbreak, spokesman Tom Skinner said. The EOC was activated at Level 2 of three levels and involves dozens of personnel, he said. A Level 1 activation would signal an agency-wide response. Flu occasionally passes from animals to people, and most experts believe that new pandemics of influenza have originated in animals’ most likely pigs, but also possibly chickens and ducks. Dr. Arnold Monto, an expert on influenza and other infectious diseases at the University of Michigan, notes that several cases were reported last summer of people infected with a strain of flu called H3N2 from pigs at state fairs.

Biological Hazard in China on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 13:02 (01:02 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Wednesday, 10 April, 2013 at 19:08 UTC
Description
China found new cases of bird flu in five live bird markets in the eastern past of the country, a report posted on the website of the World Animal Health Organisation OIE showed today. China said the H7N9 avian influenza virus was found on Wednesday in three live bird markets in Jiangsu province, one in Anhui province and one in Zhejiang province, the report said. It did not specify in what kind of birds the virus was found. The three previous outbreaks reported last week were all in China’s financial hub Shanghai. Nine people have died out of 33 confirmed human cases of the virus, according to data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission today. The latest H7N9 victim was from Anhui province, the official Xinhua news agency said. Among the new cases are several from Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, at least one of whom is dangerously ill, it said. Reports submitted by China’s farm ministry to the OIE last week showed that the first case of H7N9 in birds was found on April 4 on a pigeon destined for human consumption in a wholesale market in Shanghai. Authorities also discovered seven infected chickens in the same market, which lead to the culling of 20,536 poultry in total. The next day, one infected chicken was found at the Jingchuan market in Shanghai, and two chickens and two pigeons were discovered at the Fengzhuang market, also in Shanghai, reports showed. Member countries of the OIE have the obligation to declare bird flu cases when found in domestic animals, or when they are highly pathogenic, which is not the case in this instance.

Biological Hazard in China on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 13:02 (01:02 PM) UTC.

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Updated: Thursday, 11 April, 2013 at 03:01 UTC
Description
Of all the mysteries surrounding the emergence of a new and deadly strain of avian influenza around Shanghai, one of the biggest is why China’s hundreds of medical and veterinary labs did not spot the problem sooner – or if they did, why it was not disclosed. Even the censored Chinese news media has begun cautiously questioning why the authorities did not say anything sooner about a disease that resulted in the first known human case in eastern China on Feb. 19, but was not announced to the public until March 31. The announcement came two weeks after the closing of the National People’s Congress, a show event during which the Communist Party traditionally avoids acknowledging problems. “People are still asking, why did it take the government so long to confirm the outbreak?” The Communist Youth Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League, said in a column several days ago. “The transparency of information from the government is still being called into question by the public, and the actions the government has taken have not convinced the public.”

China’s health ministry is now finding three to five human cases a day, a brisk pace for a disease that Chinese officials and the World Health Organization assert is still transmitted from animals to people, and not from person to person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta activated its emergency operations center this week as governments around the world began making preparations in case of a flu pandemic. Yet Chinese government officials have not yet publicly identified any farms with poultry infected with the new strain of bird flu, H7N9 avian influenza. The government has focused so far on closing wholesale markets in Shanghai and several nearby cities, and it has sent guards with nets to chase pigeons in Shanghai parks, to snare and later euthanize the potentially infected birds. Chinese health officials assert that they have acted promptly upon laboratory confirmation of cases. Agriculture officials have said less, but they have also said that they are being transparent.

Western health officials and scientists say that they do not know whether China deliberately concealed the disease for six weeks after the first person fell sick with it; China says lab confirmation did not come until March 29. But they note that unusual properties of the virus, together with a controversial Chinese response to a previous bird flu outbreak of distributing millions of free vaccines, may have made the outbreak harder than usual to detect at first. The virus can be detected in animals in two ways: a widely used, easily performed test for antibodies in the serum or plasma of poultry, known as a serology test, or a much more expensive and difficult experiment to isolate specific viruses from birds’ blood, which can only be done in a few well-equipped labs in China. The crucial question is whether veterinary technicians were doing serology tests only for H5N1 bird flu, which has been a chronic problem in China for 16 years, or whether they were testing for a broader range of avian influenza viruses and misread, ignored or decided not to publicize any detection of H7N9.

Chinese officials have been largely silent on the details of their test protocols. The Agriculture Ministry had no immediate response to questions submitted by fax on Wednesday. Dr. Juan Lubroth, the chief veterinary officer of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, said that he suspected China had been testing broadly for more avian influenza viruses than just H5N1. “When you are running a serology, you usually don’t run it against one, you run it against a battery of viruses that you know are circulating,” he said in a telephone interview. But while H7N9 has been spotted before in the West, it has not been documented before this spring in East Asia. Dr. Lubroth said that he did not know the details of the Chinese test protocol, and that if the Chinese were focused on H5N1 test results, these tests would not detect H7N9.

At least 31 human cases, including nine deaths, have been confirmed by the Chinese government so far, and the Chinese police have been detaining people who assert on the Internet that there are more cases. Chinese officials say that one patient has recovered and the rest are still sick in hospitals, mostly in serious or critical condition. Dr. Malik Peiris, the director of the Center of Influenza Research at Hong Kong University, said that another serious challenge in finding the disease was that poultry, unlike people, can be infected with H7N9 and show very few symptoms. So Chinese technicians may not have seen a need to do much testing in recent months when there was little sign of H5N1, which does kill chickens.

Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

    

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New bird flu kills 8 in China

Eight people have died and 28 confirmed infected with a new type of bird flu in eastern China, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday. But officials say China’s come a long way in watching for and controlling new disease outbreaks.

Chinese authorities are rushing to test patients with respiratory illness to see how far the new H7N9 bird flu has spread. They’re also starting culls of chickens and other birds, which are suspected of spreading the infection, and have closed some live bird markets.

The new strain of flu — never before seen to cause serious illness in people — appears to have first started making people ill in February. Chinese authorites announced  the first cases in March.

Flu occasionally passes from animals to people, and most experts believe that new pandemics of influenza have originated in animals – most likely pigs, but also possibly chickens and ducks. Dr. Arnold Monto, an expert on influenza and other infectious diseases at the University of Michigan, notes that several cases were reported last summer of people infected with a strain of flu called H3N2 from pigs at state fairs.

One woman died but the flu did not spread widely.

“What is going on in China is a little scarier,” Monto told NBC News. “The reason it is a little scarier is that it seems to be causing severe disease.”

 

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Published on Apr 7, 2013

April 07, 2013 ABC News
http://MOXNews.com

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China reports 3 more cases of new bird flu virus

               A worker carries a cage to catch pigeons at the People's Square as a precautionary measure against bird flu in Shanghai on Saturday April 6, 2013. Shanghai has reported two more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu, raising the number of cases in eastern China to 20. Six of the people who contracted the virus have died. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT                   A worker carries a cage to catch pigeons at the People’s Square as a precautionary measure against bird flu in Shanghai on Saturday April 6, 2013. Shanghai has reported two more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu, raising the number of cases in eastern China to 20. Six of the people who contracted the virus have died. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT
AP /  April 7, 2013

BEIJING (AP) — China reported three more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu on Sunday, raising the total number of cases to 21.

Six of those who contracted the H7N9 virus have died. All 21 cases have been reported in the eastern part of the country.

Health officials believe people are contracting the virus through direct contact with infected fowl and say there’s no evidence the virus is spreading easily between people.

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EPIDEMICS

China steps up response to bird flu cases

by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) April 6, 2013

Nanjing city shut markets selling live poultry to its more than eight million residents, while Hangzhou culled birds after discovering infected quail, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Two more people were confirmed to be infected with the virus in Shanghai, state media said late Saturday, bringing to 18 the total number of cases since authorities last week announced the virus had been detected in humans.

The human infections have been confined to eastern China, with Shanghai recording eight including four deaths, and the other two fatalities in the neighbouring province of Zhejiang.

Other cases are scattered across the provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui.

Shanghai had ordered a ban on live poultry trading and markets after culling more than 20,500 birds at an agricultural market in a western suburb on Friday.

At a local market in the city centre, two live poultry booths were dark and the cages within empty, as a uniformed worker sprayed disinfectant from a tank on his back.

“People are worried,” said Yan Zhicheng, a retired factory manager who like many elderly people makes a daily trip to market.

“Shanghai people eat a lot of duck and chicken. Now we can’t touch them.”

Shanghai has also banned live poultry from other parts of China entering the city and the sale of wild birds, including those intended as pets, the local government said in a statement on its website.

But eggs remain on sale in the city, as well as fresh and frozen poultry meat, though officials encourage people to cook them well.

Chinese authorities maintain there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission, a conclusion echoed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The China Food and Drug Administration announced Saturday that it had approved a flu drug called Peramivir, which it believes may be effective in treating the H7N9 virus, according to Xinhua.

State media said the government had sought to improve transparency on the disease after being accused of covering up the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed about 800 people globally.

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EPIDEMICS

H7N9 bird flu strain has worrying traits: experts

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) April 05, 2013


US health authorities announce bird flu vaccine effort
Washington (AFP) April 4, 2013 – US health authorities said Thursday they are liaising with domestic and international partners to develop a vaccine for the H7N9 bird flu virus that has killed five people in China.With the number of confirmed infection cases climbing to 14, authorities in Shanghai have begun the mass slaughter of poultry at a market after the virus was detected there in samples of pigeon.

Noting an ongoing probe by Beijing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a US federal agency, said it was following the situation closely.

Its efforts will include “gathering more information to make a knowledgeable public health risk assessment, and developing a candidate vaccine virus.”

The CDC is also “reviewing posted genetic sequencing of the H7N9 viruses and assessing possible implications in terms of the viruses’ transmissibility and severity and whether existing influenza diagnostic tests need to be enhanced or new ones developed.”

The World Health Organization this week played down fears over the strain, saying there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission, but that it was crucial to find out how the virus infects humans.

Like the H5N1 virus which typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, experts fear such viruses could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans with the potential to trigger a pandemic.

The first two deaths from the virus, which had never before been seen in humans, occurred in February but were not reported by authorities until late March. Officials said the delay in announcing the results was because it took time to determine the cause of the illnesses.

 

A mutated bird flu virus that has killed six people in China displays worrying traits that warrant high vigilance, experts say, though the true extent of the threat is unclear.

Most concerning is the virus’ wide geographical spread, and the fact that it seems to be spreading unseen among its host animals, possibly chickens or ducks.

“I am cautiously worried,” virologist John Oxford of the Queen Mary University of London told AFP.

“If there were four cases in Shanghai, I would be much less concerned, but because it is so geographically widespread I think it is trying to tell us something.

“It is not a deadly virus for chickens so it could spread in chickens without anyone knowing it. I suspect it’s probably wider than we think.”

Having made its jump from animals to humans, which required a series of genetic mutations, the influenza A(H7N9) strain has now been diagnosed in four Chinese provinces: Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and the business capital Shanghai.

Of 14 people confirmed infected, six have died since February. Patients suffer from severe pneumonia with a fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The better-known H5N1 bird flu, which has infected 622 people since 2003 of whom 371 died, is highly fatal in birds, making it easier to identify than the new strain.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the animal source of the new infection and its mode of transmission was not yet clear.

“We do not yet know enough about these infections to determine whether there is a significant risk of community spread,” the UN’s health agency stated in an online H7N9 update.

No cases of human-to-human transmission have yet been found, and no infections beyond China.

 

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Explosion

Rescuers were searching Monday night for 13 miners still trapped underground in the Jisheng Coal Mine that was rocked by a gas blast early Monday morning in Baishan city in northeast China’s Jilin Province. Local authorities said 116 miners were working underground when the blast occurred. Ninety-five of them escaped. Among the 21 trapped, four have been confirmed dead while another four have been rescued. The bodies of the dead miners have been recovered. [Photo:Xinhua]  2012

Today Explosion China Province of Jilin, Baishan [Babao Coal Mine] Damage level
Details

Explosion in China on Saturday, 30 March, 2013 at 04:46 (04:46 AM) UTC.

Description
Twenty eight people were killed and 13 injured after a blast caused by a methane gas ripped through a coalmine in China’s northeast Jilin Province on late Friday night. There were a total of 41 miners working underground at the Babao Coal Mine in the city of Baishan when the explosion hit the coalmine at around 10:40 p.m. local time. A spokesman with the provincial work safety and supervision bureau said all injured were taken to hospitals and their injuries were not life threatening. Rescuers already finished work at the scene of the accident and investigators are working to establish the cause of the explosion.

Coalmine Gas Blast Kills 28, Injures 13 in Northeast China

07:21 30/03/2013

MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti) – Twenty eight people were killed and 13 injured after a blast caused by a methane gas ripped through a coalmine in China’s northeast Jilin Province on late Friday night, Xinhua news agency reported.

There were a total of 41 miners working underground at the Babao Coal Mine in the city of Baishan when the explosion hit the coalmine at around 10:40 p.m. local time.

A spokesman with the provincial work safety and supervision bureau said all injured were taken to hospitals and their injuries were not life threatening.

Rescuers already finished work at the scene of the accident and investigators are working to establish the cause of the explosion.

The coal industry in energy-hungry China is one of the most dangerous in the world due to poor work safety standards and intensive work schedules. Hundreds of lives are lost annually in accidents at coal mines in the country.

Related News

Multimedia

Methane in coalmines

Earth Watch Report  –  Landslides

11:34p.m. EDT March 29, 2013

29.03.2013 Landslide China Tibet Autonomous Region, [Maizhokunggar County, Lhasa Prefecture] Damage level
Details

Landslide in China on Friday, 29 March, 2013 at 17:37 (05:37 PM) UTC.

Description
Chinese state media say a large landslide Friday trapped 83 workers in a gold mining area in Tibet. China Central Television cited a local official as saying the landslide occurred early in the morning and covered around 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles) in the Maizhokunggar county of Lhasa, the regional capital. The workers were from a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp. The reports said the landslide was caused by a “natural disaster” but did not provide specifics. It was unclear why the first news reports of the landslide came out several hours after it occurred. Rescue efforts were under way Friday night, the reports said. County officials reached by phone confirmed the landslide but had no further details. Calls to the company’s general phone line rang unanswered. Doctors reached at the local county hospital said they had been told to prepare to receive survivors but none had arrived. “We were ordered to make all efforts to receive the injured,” said a doctor who gave only her surname, Ge, in the hospital’s emergency section. Ge said the hospital transferred some of its patients to other facilities to increase the number of beds available and that 16 doctors were on duty.

China: Landslide buries 83 in Tibet gold mine area

11:34p.m. EDT March 29, 2013

USA Today

BEIJING (AP) — No signs of life have been detected at a gold mining site in a mountainous area of Tibet more than 24 hours after a massive landslide buried 83 workers, Chinese state media said Saturday.

The state-run China Central Television said more than 2,000 rescuers have been dispatched to Lhasa’s Maizhokunggar county to search for the buried.

About 2.6 million cubic yards of mud, rock and debris swept through the area as the workers were resting and covered an area measuring around 1.5 square miles, CCTV said.

The miners worked for a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp., a state-owned enterprise and the country’s largest gold producer. A woman who answered the call at its Beijing headquarters Saturday said she could not provide any information.

The disaster is likely to inflame critics of Chinese rule in Tibet who say Beijing’s interests are driven by the region’s mineral wealth and strategic position and come at the expense of the region’s delicate ecosystem and Tibetans’ Buddhist culture and traditional way of life.

The reports said at least two of the buried workers were Tibetan while most of the workers were believed to be ethnic Han Chinese, a reflection of how such large projects often create an influx of the majority ethnic group into the region.

The more than 2,000 police, firefighters, soldiers and medics deployed to the site, about 45 miles east of Lhasa, the regional capital, conducted searches armed with devices to detect signs of life and accompanied by sniffer dogs, reports said.

Around 30 excavators were also digging away at the site late Friday as temperatures fell to just below freezing.

The reports said the landslide was caused by a “natural disaster” but did not provide specifics. It was unclear why the first news reports of the landslide came out several hours after it occurred.

 

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