November 9, 2013
Guangdong culture of eating fresh chicken means it has to keep operating, official says
Guangdong will not close a wet market near where a three-year-old boy is confirmed this week to have contracted the H7N9 strain of bird flu, because authorities have to meet "the public's need to eat fresh chicken", a provincial health official says.
The provincial line contrasted sharply with action taken by Shanghai and other regions further north, which closed wet markets after H7N9 was found. The measure is believed to be the most effective in curbing the spread of the deadly virus.
Yesterday, Dr Zhang Yonghui, visiting director general of the Guangdong centre for disease and prevention, said: "We cannot close down the market as a consensus cannot be reached."
"The situation in Guangdong is different as there have been only sporadic cases so far. There is a traditional culture of eating fresh chicken in southern China, so we have to strike a balance."
The boy, who lived in Dongguan , was confirmed on Tuesday to be infected with H7N9. He had visited a wet market with poultry stalls, but did not come into contact with any birds.