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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid