News / Asia

Chinese New Year Increases Risk of Spreading Bird Flu

Passengers carry their belongings while arriving at the Beijing railway station in Beijing, Jan. 19, 2014.
Passengers carry their belongings while arriving at the Beijing railway station in Beijing, Jan. 19, 2014.
Shannon Van Sant
In January, China saw a rise in the number of people diagnosed with bird flu.  As the Chinese New Year approaches, millions of people will begin their annual journey home for the holiday, increasing the opportunity for the virus to spread. 
 
A recent outbreak of the H7N9 virus has already killed 19 people in China this year.
 
Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander, the World Health Organization's representative in China, says crowded train stations and airports typify the annual migration home for the holiday.
 
“If there are mass movements many people are traveling.  The trains are crammed with people.  The planes are full.  People are running around everywhere.  That always bears the risk of transmission of infections,” the doctor explained.
 
​Aside from the risks of contracting the illness while traveling, traditional New Year celebrations in some parts of China include killing live chickens.
 
To help prevent the spread, live poultry sales have been barred in Shanghai and eastern Zhejiang Province.  Officials in Zhejiang have also launched emergency surveillance of farms and stopped the flying of domestic pigeons.
 
A health worker removes a dead chicken at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong, Jan. 28, 2014.A health worker removes a dead chicken at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong, Jan. 28, 2014.
x
A health worker removes a dead chicken at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong, Jan. 28, 2014.
A health worker removes a dead chicken at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong, Jan. 28, 2014.
Hong Kong’s health officials are also shutting poultry markets for disinfection and plan to cull 20,000 birds.
 
In one of the largest annual mass migrations in the world, the Chinese government estimates more than 3.6 billion trips will be taken over the 40 day travel period this year. More than 50 percent of China’s population now lives in cities, but many return to their childhood homes in the countryside for the new year holiday.
 
In Heifei in eastern China, 17-year-old Fu Anqi says her mother worries about the potential spread of avian flu during the holiday season.
 
“She kind of had a struggle between protecting ourselves from the flu and seeing our relatives in Beijing,” Fu said.
 
So far, bird flu has only been transmitted among birds and from birds to humans. The WHO’s Dr. Schwartlander says the virus has not mutated yet to a form where it can spread easily between humans.
 
“So far there is no evidence of person to person transmission," the doctor noted.
 
Health officials remain on high alert though this holiday season as the virus continues to circulate and sicken China’s poultry.  The H7N9 virus has infected 96 people in China since the disease was first identified in 2013.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bob Secombe from: Australia
January 28, 2014 4:08 PM
Both China and US are just as guilty. China more so with their expansionist policies.


by: Sino-phobia from: Rest of the world
January 28, 2014 8:08 AM
Oh! Don't spread the flu virus! Chinese have been spreading every evil thing in the world, such as air pollution, poisonous food, SARS, bird flu, bubble economy, invasion in other countries, bullying small countries, and so on. Don't destruct world's peace.

In Response

by: Anonymous
January 29, 2014 2:09 AM
Not sure if joking or serious.

In Response

by: CL from: Wuxi
January 28, 2014 10:16 AM
we will make a proper settlement for our own affairs attached to the position of being one of the largest country in the world.and you,u better dont stick your nose into other people's business

In Response

by: Gavin Yin from: Changsha
January 28, 2014 9:24 AM
Ridiculous!What is meaning of “Don't destruct world's peace”?How and why did you think just like that.Moreover, something might be awful just a small part of China.You take it extremely.

In Response

by: fu loon from: USA
January 28, 2014 9:07 AM
Is the writer commenting on America....or China??

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid