By Oliver Dzuba
SCMP reports that there have been no new cases of the H7N9 virus in China since May 13, marking the longest period without a new infection since the influenza outbreak began in March.
As of today, the number of confirmed cases stands at 130, with 72 of those having made a recovery from this flu. H7N9 has been fatal in 36 cases.
A combination of the warmer weather and shutting down of poultry markets is being attributed to quelling of the H7N9 threat.
This will come as a relief to the many who have suffered due to this potential pandemic. Chicken farmers and others in the poultry industry have been the worst hit by this crisis. International Business Times reports that the industry experienced a 40 billion yuan ($6.3 bn) loss since the outbreak of H7N9 in March. KFC owner Yum! Brands also reported a 36 percent loss in sales, with McDonalds reporting they too have observed a decline due to the H7N9 virus. Things are looking up though, as Asia News Net reports that while still much lower than last year, chicken sales are rallying throughout the country and a 600 million yuan subsidy from the government is sure to help recoup some loses felt by the farmers.
A week without H7N9 may have past, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The head of the World Health Organization (WH) Margaret Chan said that the H7N9 strain is particularly unpredictable, reminding us to still be on our guard. Earlier this week the virus was found in a chicken in Zengcheng in Guangdong province. So keep those hands washed and be wary of live poultry!
Fuel your anxiety / count your luck by checking your proximity to H7N9 cases on this interactive Google Map.