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FAO warns of cross-border bird flu risk from China
07/02/2014 | 19:17:00
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The spread of the H7N9 virus among poultry in live bird markets (LBM) in China's Guangxi province has significantly increased the risk that it will progressively spread to neighbouring countries and pose a higher human health risk, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned.

It said on February 5 that with the virus now detected in southern China, it is critical that all of China's neighbouring countries in the sub-region review their emergency preparedness and response plans to effectively address outbreaks of the virus.

The warning was sounded after two new cases were reported in Guangxi province, including a 41-year-old woman and her 5-year-old son.

The virus has seriously disrupted poultry production and markets in 14 provinces of China, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. It has resulted in at least 290 confirmed illnesses with 66 human deaths from animal-to-human transmission, according to FAO.

The organisation has been working closely with its international partners, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the authorities in China and those in a number of other countries in Asia, since the emergence of H7N9 in China early last year, and has been responding to the H5N1 virus since 2004.

The current situation in Guangxi will require a renewed vigilance to mitigate the effects of cross-border spread, said FAO, adding that it will continue to work with governments and its other partners in that regard.-VNA
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