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.
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