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Suzhou in China to halt live poultry trade over bird flu concerns

Staff Writer |
A Chinese city Suzhou said it will suspend the trade of live poultry in the interests of public health after neighbouring provinces reported cases of human bird flu infections.

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Suzhou, the second-biggest city in the eastern province of Jiangsu, will halt trading of live poultry at midnight (1600 GMT), the official People's Daily reported on its website.

Two people have died of the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China this winter, the first fatalities among at least seven infections.

In the past week, Hong Kong and Macau have also reported their first human bird flu infections for this season.

H7N9 had not been detected in either humans or animals in China until March 2013.

The city of Shanghai, about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Suzhou, reported last week that a man had been diagnosed with the H7N9 strain after travelling from Jiangsu.

The two deaths were in Anhui province, west of both Shanghai and Suzhou. Anhui has reported five human infections since Deember 8.

Authorities in Anhui, which has a population of almost 60 million, have shut some livestock markets and stepped up sterilisation to prevent the virus spreading. "A few" chickens had been culled.

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