By Ellen Huber
Zhang Jieying, Houshayu propanda director, spoke to Agence France-Presse about the spread of H7N9 avian flu to northern China. Despite this development, the extremely relaxed official told citizens to continue buying poultry, as long as it’s already dead.
It is reported that Zhang, and the state media in general, are urging Chinese to keep eating chicken in order to bolster the poultry industry, which has been hit hard since H7N9 broke out in China two weeks ago.
Zhang explained that local officials have been putting up posters in Houshayu, a town neighboring Beijing, instructing citizens on how to “prevent and control the spread of the disease”. Eating poultry poses no risk of transmission for H7N9 (though those who slaughter the birds are at risk).
Zhong Dongbo, deputy head of Beijing’s city health bureau, spoke to concerned citizens in a press conference at Beijing Ditan Hopsital. Zhong reported that the one local resident known to have contracted the H7N9 virus isn’t manifesting any symptoms. Zhong stated that those infected with H7N9 could manifest a wide range of symptoms, from severe to none at all.
Amid boycotts, the poultry industry has reportedly suffered a 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) loss since the first case of bird flu hit newswaves. Since that time, 14 have died and 63 have been infected with the virus.