9 dead from H7N9 as Shanghai officials consider permanent ban on live poultry [UPDATE: at least 10 detained for spreading rumors]

I’ve seen way more live chickens on the streets of Shanghai than Beijing, but soon, we might not see any at all. That’s because authorities are considering a permanent ban on live poultry sales in Shanghai, according to the latest. SCMP brings us this:

The director of Shanghai’s agriculture commission, Sun Lei , said it would consider a public consultation on a permanent ban for the live-poultry trade, after 20 samples taken from wet markets tested positive for H7N9, according to the Oriental Morning Post.

A total of 7,185 samples were collected by yesterday and included pigeons, chickens and feathers, the Shanghai Evening News reported. More than 111,000 birds have been culled in the city since Thursday.

These chengguan might be practicing for nothing.

Meanwhile, death toll update: we’re up to nine, after two more perished yesterday — an 83-year-old man from Suzhou, Jiangsu province and a 35-year-old woman from Chuzhou, Anhui province. There have been 29 reported cases.

Rumors continue, meanwhile, about bird flu cover-ups in Beijing, with people saying someone checked into a hospital with bird flu symptoms. It wouldn’t surprise us, to be honest. This city is too big, with too many people from all across the country, for there not to have been at least one case.

It’s not official though, and despite scary stories about how the virus can “mutate eight times faster than regular flu,” there’s still no indication that it can spread from human to human. Hang in there, chicken lovers.

Shanghai considers permanent ban on sale of live poultry (SCMP)

UPDATE, 6:58 pm: Huh, you know how I just wrote about bird flu rumors? Authorities really don’t want people doing that, i.e. writing about rumors. Via Reuters:

Chinese police detained at least 10 people for spreading rumors about the H7N9 bird flu, state media said on Wednesday, as the death toll from the new strain of the virus rose to nine.

Authorities detained the people in six provinces — Shaanxi, Guizhou, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian — some of whom had posted “fake information” online about new cases of the virus in their areas, the official Xinhua news agency said.

It’s curious, isn’t it, how news of bird flu cases and deaths all seem to have originated from government mouthpieces. If you see someone drop dead of H7N9 symptoms, don’t tell anyone. The government has to run it by their press department first.

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