UN officials estimate that China has lost $6.5 billion as a result of the H7N9 virus.
Although the economic cost of H7N9 so far has been much less than that of the 2003 SARS virus, the 2013 influenza has had a significant impact on the economy. UN chief veterinary officer Juan Lubroth describes the impact as “astounding”.
“Over $6.5 billion has been lost in the agriculture sector because of prices, consumer confidence and trade. So poultry industry losses in China have been high,” Lubroth said.
The government has spent 600 million yuan in an effort to help the poultry industry return to good shape as well as lifting emergency virus control procedures in areas where the infections occurred. At the 11th annual China Husbandry Expo in Wuhan, leaders ate an all chicken lunch to demonstrate that the meat is safe to eat.
Since the first reported case in March of 2013, H7N9 has infected 132 people in China, 38 of whom were killed by the virus. There have been no new cases for nearly a month now, suggesting that the outbreak may be contained for the time being.
Vigilance and care is still recommended, World Health Organisation (WHO) released a statement saying: “The immediate outbreak has been controlled, but it is also unlikely that virus has simply disappeared. We believe we need go another autumn/winter/spring season to know”.
[Image credit: @major_clanger]