December 8, 2023

USDA Approves Poultry Imports from South Korea Despite Flu

In spite of a massive bird flu outbreak, the USDA has approved import of poultry products from South Korea. The final rule grants equivalency status to the Republic of Korea. It becomes effective May 27, 2014. It reads "slaughtered poultry or parts or other products thereof processed in certified Korean establishments will be eligible for export to the United States. All such products will be subject to re-inspection at United States ports of entry by FSIS inspectors." The bird flu in outbreak in Korea, which was discovered January 2014, has led to the culling of 11 million birds nationwide. Food safety and consumer groups are opposed to this new USDA rule for this reason and for many others. Food and Water Water issued a press release about this matter. They filed comments … [Read more...]

New Bird Flu Outbreak in Korea; 500,000 Chickens Culled

A new case of H5N8 bird flu in Korea has led to the culling of 50,000 chickens, according to The Chosun Ilbo. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the case on Sunday, March 9, 2014. Now only Gangwon and Jeju provinces do not have birds with the virus. No human infections have been reported to date. A farm in Gyeongju bought 6,700 chickens from a farm in Pyeongtaek, in Gyeonggi Province. The new bird flu strain was detected there on March 4, 2014. The virus was found in bird droppings on the farm. Authorities are culling 500,000 chickens in the area. Lab tests are ongoing to determine if the virus is highly transmissible. The new bird flu strain was detected in Korea on January 16, 2014. Since then, more than 2.8 million birds have been killed. In the U.S. … [Read more...]

Six More Cases of H7N9 Bird Flu in China

According to the Shanghai Daily, six more human cases of laboratory confirmed H7N9 bird flu have been reported in China. Two cases are in Shanghai and two more are in southern China. It is not clear if the patients had contact with live poultry. Three of the patients are hospitalized in serious or critical condition. Last year, the government ordered 110 live poultry markets closed to try to prevent the spread of this illness. Now all live poultry markets in Shanghai are going to close at the end of January in response to this new outbreak. Two more cases of H7N9 have been confirmed in Guangdong Province. Both of those patients did have contact with live poultry. Two people have died in this new outbreak which started in August 2013. This strain of the bird flu emerged in China … [Read more...]

New Positive Test for H7N9 Bird Flu in China

According to reports from the Xinhua news agency, a new positive test of the H7N9 bird flu was taken as an environmental sample at a live poultry market in southern China. That country has banned the sale of live birds in 110 markets around the country. The sample was taken from the Nanchao Market in the Doumen District of Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province. Last month a woman tested positive for the H7N9 virus, also called avian influenza A. She also lived in Guangdong and died from her illness. That strain of bird flu is new in human beings. Six cases of the H7N9 virus in humans have been confirmed in that province since August 2013. Local agricultural, health, and forestry officials are being urged to test local markets and encourage daily disinfection of the poultry … [Read more...]

China Confirms First Human Case of H7N9 Bird Flu

Officials in China have confirmed the first seasonal case of the H7N9 bird flu in a human being in that country. The person is hospitalized in critical condition. The 36-year-old patient had direct contract with live poultry. Four family members also have symptoms of the disease. This summer, there were 139 cases of the H7N9 bird flu in eastern China. Forty five people died in that outbreak. The virus does not spread easily from person-to-person at this point, but it may evolve that capability. The virus is now in the southern part of the country, around Hong Kong. The city is on a heightened alert status. Officials plan to inspect poultry farms. The problem is that birds do not exhibit symptoms of the disease. Yesterday officials said they are putting temporary bans of live poultry … [Read more...]

China Developing Five Year Policy to Control Bird Flu Outbreaks

Chinese officials are trying to control bird flu outbreaks by occasionally suspending live poultry trading in 110 of the country's poultry markets. The first suspension will be January 31, 2014 and will last until April 30, 2014. Last year, an outbreak of the H7N9 bird flu in China sickened 134 people and killed 43 in that country. In April 2013, all live poultry markets were shut down in Shanghai. That ban was lifted in June 2013. Any violators of this ban will be fined thousands of dollars. Poultry from other cities and provinces must go through designated slaughterhouses and can't be sold at the local markets. Experts say that the H7N9 virus may recur. So far this autumn, there have been five cases of the bird flu in humans beings on the mainland. There have not been verified … [Read more...]

National Institutes of Health Begins Testing H7N9 Avian Flu Vaccine

The National Institutes of Health has begun testing the H7N9 avian flu vaccine. This strain of the flu first emerged in China last year, with 135 confirmed human cases and 44 deaths. No H7N9 infections have been reported outside of China, and the virus hasn't demonstrated sustained person-to-person transmission, but it could mutate at any time and pose a public health threat. The trials are sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The H7N9 virus mostly occurred among people who live with live chickens. It's difficult to tell which birds carry the virus, since it doesn't cause serious illness in poultry. When people started getting sick in China, officials culled more than 111,000 birds nationwide and banned live poultry trading. The two clinical … [Read more...]

WHO Updates H7N9 Outbreak in China

The World Health Organization updated the status of the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in China yesterday. The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China notified WHO of an additional fifteen lab-confirmed cases of the virus. Three additional deaths were reported. To date, there are 102 lab confirmed cases, including 20 deaths. Sixty-seven patients are hospitalized and seven have been discharged. There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission so far, even though 40% of the patients had no contact with live poultry. Wild bird sales have been suspended in the country, and a ban on live poultry trading where the illnesses have occurred is in place. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released an FAQ on the illness last week. They recommend that … [Read more...]

U.S. and Canadian Governments Issue Statements on H7N9 Flu Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the Public Health Agency of Canada have each released a statement about the H7N9 bird flu in China. Public health officials are trying to reassure citizens that the flu is not a serious threat at this time. The CDC states that no sustained person-to-person spread of the H7N9 virus has been found at this time. This non-human virus does have the potential to become a pandemic if it were to evolve, but the virus doesn't have that capability for now. Public health officials in the U.S. are developing a candidate vaccine virus to make a vaccine if it is needed. The CDC has posted a Traveler's Health Notice for anyone traveling to China. Canadian health authorities say that the strain of avian influenza causing … [Read more...]

New Strain of Bird Flu in China Increases Worry

A new strain of bird flu has appeared in China. The virus, H7N9, has killed six people in that country and infected 21 so far. McDonald's in Shanghai has cut the price of its chicken McNuggets in half in the past few days. And China's airlines are no longer serving chicken to passengers. Consumers there are worried that the outbreak may have infected the city's poultry market. The virus has evolved to infect people. I talked to Dr. O. Peter Snyder about the bird flu and poultry products a few years ago. He said, "the bird flu will have an effect on chicken consumption, and for a while, people will be fearful and eat less chicken. Then, people will realize it doesn't hurt the ordinary citizen and we will eat as much chicken as ever." This has been verified by public health … [Read more...]

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