CHINESE authorities have reported at least seven cases of bird flu nationwide this month, including two deaths, as authorities seek to contain the outbreak.
According to state media, at least five cases of H7N9 bird flu have been detected in the Anhui province since Dec 8.
Meanwhile, officials in Shanghai reported a man diagnosed with the virus and is being treated in a city hospital, while another was reported in the Fujian province where poultry sales have been halted.
In rural Jinzhai county in Anhui province, local officials on Thursday announced a two-week closure of a meat market after a shopkeeper was diagnosed with H7N9.
This comes days after authorities confirmed a second case of human bird flu infection this week.
Chinese authorities have said they will ban imports of poultry from countries with outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu. Import bans from over 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea, are already in place.
South Korea and Japan are also battling to control outbreaks of the deadly virus and ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month.
The South Korean government raised its bird flu alert status to highest level last week, due to the outbreak that is spreading rapidly. The first case of the virus in the poultry was reported on Nov 8.
“It appears to be more highly pathogenic and it is spreading more quickly than the H5N8 virus that occurred in 2014,” Agriculture Minister Kim Jae-soo told reporters last week.
There have not been any cases of human infections detected in South Korea.
According to the World Health Organisation, Avian influenza A (H7N9) is concerning because most patients who have contracted the infection have become severely ill.
The last major H7N9 bird flu outbreak in humans first struck China in March 2013, killing more than 40 people and devastating the poultry industry.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.