One of the mysteries surrounding the spread of the H7N9 virus in China is that while it has been associated with live bird markets, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has steadfastly maintained it is has not been detected on poultry farms.
Today - via the following report from Xinhua News - we get word of a Guangdong Province poultry farm that has tested positive for the virus. Whether this represents a change in the ecology or range of the virus, or perhaps a change in testing procedures on farmed poultry, is impossible to say from the information we have right now.
However, if this virus is found to be infecting more poultry farms, this could escalate the threat from the virus and at the same time deal another blow to an already reeling poultry industry in China.
English.news.cn 2014-03-20 20:07:06
GUANGZHOU, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The H7N9 bird flu virus has been found in a poultry farm in the southern city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province, the provincial agriculture department confirmed on Thursday.
Samples from live chickens were collected from Zhuhai Jinfeng Poultry Co., Ltd. in Doumen District and tested positive for H7N9 by the provincial center for animal disease control, the department said.
The department sent experts to the company and disposed of more than 80,000 live chickens. It also provided five tonnes of disinfectant.
The samples were then sent to the Ministry of Agriculture's national laboratory and tested positive again for the virus on Tuesday, according to a statement from the department.
Gong Guifen, secretary general of China Poultry Industry Association under the China Animal Agriculture Association, said finding the H7N9 virus in a poultry farm may heavily impact the industry.
Since the H7N9 influenza outbreak in March 2013, the country's poultry industry has suffered losses worth more than 40 billion yuan (6.7 billion U.S. dollars) after the closure of poultry markets.