April 30, 2013

Why Is China a Hot Zone for Bird Flu?

Katie Drummond, The Verge

AP Photo

Two key elements make China a hotbed for new avian influenza: an exceptional density of people living alongside huge numbers of chickens and ducks, and a thriving live-bird market system. And these live-bird markets are not only a cultural norm, but also integral to a great number of local economies. China is home to a diverse array of avian species, including large populations of both domestic and migratory birds living in the same areas. "Mixing of bird species in small spaces [like markets] provides a great opportunity for the virus to infect different species and to mutate," Tanya Graham, PhD, a veterinary pathologist at South Dakota State University, told The Verge. "Because influenzas are constantly mutating, at some point the virus mutated enough to infect humans."

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TAGGED: China, bird flu, H7N9


April 21, 2013
Bird Flu Outbreak Is Spreading Fear in China
Barbara Demick, LA Times
A new strain of avian flu called H7N9, which has caused 18 deaths, is causing deepening concern. People are avoiding zoos, passing up chicken dinners, and farmers are killing their flocks. more ››
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The Economist
As new viruses emerge in China and the Middle East, the world is poorly prepared for a global pandemic. more ››
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The Irish Times
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