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Poultry Samples Test Positive for H7N9 Virus

17 April 2013

CHINA - China's agriculture authority said on Tuesday that its tests have found five more H7N9-positive poultry samples in China, including one from a wild pigeon.

The avian virus was detected in one wild pigeon sample from Jiangsu province and four chicken samples from Zhejiang province, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.

All of the samples except the wild pigeon were collected from poultry markets in those regions.

So far, the ministry has found 39 samples in Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang containing the H7N9 virus.

"It is possible that an avian virus among wild birds can be spread to poultry. But so far there is no proof to show a transmission of the H7N9 virus from wild birds to poultry," said Hou Shuisheng, an animal nutrition professor with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said.

"Government authorities should step up their efforts to clarify the relationship between the virus detected in those animals and the virus that has infected humans since the domestic poultry industry has now suffered undeserved losses," he said.

The ministry said although the H7N9 virus has not triggered an epidemic among poultry, the country's poultry industry has experienced a major setback due to a sharp fall in market demand.

As of Monday (15 April), the direct loss on sales of chicks was more than 3.7 billion yuan ($598 million) and another 13 billion yuan was lost in sales of live chickens and chicken products, the ministry said, citing statistics from the China Animal Agriculture Association.

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