China kills over 20,000 birds after H7N9 virus samples were taken from pigeons at Huhai agricultural market in Shanghai. Six people in China have died from illnesses linked to the bird virus.
“We don’t know yet where the humans got their virus from,” said Dr. Joseph Bresee, who heads the epidemiology and prevention branch in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) influenza division.
Researchers in the United States said they had started work on developing a vaccine for H7N9 while the Chinese Minister of Agriculture said an analysis showed a strong genetic overlap between the strain found in the Huhai market pigeons and the one detected in infected humans.
At the Huhai market, Shanghai authorities were disinfecting the area and objects that came into contact with the birds.
Officials are trying to track where the infected pigeons came from.
A 64-year-old man died Thursday night in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, the provincial health bureau said Friday. He died hours after doctors had confirmed he had been infected with the H7N9 virus, it said.
He is one of the 14 human cases of H7N9 reported so far — all of them in the coastal area of eastern China. Authorities there began reporting the first cases on Sunday. Four of the deaths happened in Shanghai, the two others in Zhejiang.
The ages of those infected have ranged from a 4-year-old child, who was reported to be recovering, to an 83-year-old man.
No cases of human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus have been confirmed so far.
A person in Shanghai who developed flu symptoms after coming into close contact with a patient who died of the virus tested negative for H7N9, city authorities said.
The virus has not been shown to spread easily between humans, he added.