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

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea 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 Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs