Officials Are Seen At The Border With Mainland China In Hong Kong On Thursday As Authorities Step Up Measures Against The Spread Of H7N9 Bird Flu. Photo: Afp
Officials are seen at the border with mainland China in Hong Kong on Thursday as authorities step up measures against the spread of H7N9 bird flu. Photo: AFP

Today begins with a documented case count of 33 with 9 dead.

Xinhua reported that a top Chinese biology lab has ascribed the H7N9 avian influenza to genetic reassortment of wild birds from east Asia and chickens from east China.

The researchers found that no genes in H7N9 were traceable to pigs, thus excluding pigs as intermediate hosts for the deadly new strain of bird flu, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology said on Wednesday. (I still would like to know more about those pigs!)

According to the researchers, the genetic reassortment is likely to have occurred in east China’s Yangtze River Delta areas covering Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu.

They found that a virus carried by wild birds from the Republic of Korea and other east Asian regions mingled with the avian influenza virus carried by ducks and chickens in the Yangtze River Delta during migration.

H7N9 has already been hurting the poultry industry. Shares in Yum!, which runs the big KFC chain, lost more than 2% in afterhours trading after the company said same-store KFC sales in China in March fell 16% amid consumer worries about the flu.

Shanghai has had 15 H7N9 cases so far, more than any other city.

And lastly reports of more people being retained (whatever that means) for spreading rumors about H7N9 in China as reported by Xinhua via Twitter this morning.

Xinhua Twitter Post
Xinhua Twitter post