Tuesday 28 January 2014

Freeze those chickens....

As 8 new H7N9 cases are announced today we see a very welcome comment from Hangzhou City's mayor, Zhang Hongming...
"Hangzhou is planning to close live poultry trading markets permanently and promote the supply chains of frozen poultry products instead"
If Zhejiang Province can carry this off, it would be perhaps the single biggest intervention and risk mitigation step possible. 

Centralising poultry slaughter and providing chickens in a partially prepared and refrigerated/frozen condition could buy the time needed for research to catch up with public health needs. This could include further enhancing farm, market and human screening and finding the feathered or furry fiend(s) acting as the source(s) for these putative zoonotic transmissions (also for H5N1, H7N7, H9N2, H10N8, etc). 

Such change would also radically reduce the chance of selecting more efficiently transmitting human-adapted flu viruses by simply reducing contact between the large numbers of birds (and other animals) and humans occurring on a daily basis in the market environments and through the transport and slaughter of live birds throughout their heavily populated surrounds.

The changes in social behaviour and habits required the Chinese are huge, but such change should be considered as being as great an investment in the future health of the local and global populace as vaccines have proven to be.


  1. Xinhua

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