BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Agriculture Wednesday asked for better prevention of the spread of H7N9 bird flu following reports of human infections.
Calling the situation "complicated and grim," Vice Minister of Agriculture Yu Kangzhen ordered local agricultural agencies to intensify monitoring of poultry markets and step up disinfection programs to minimize risks.
Yu also called on efforts against other animal epidemics and help in upgrading the poultry industry.
Since January, at least 270 H7N9 human infections have been reported in China, with at least 87 fatalities. Most cases were around the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas.
The situation has prompted health authorities to step up prevention and control measures, including a ban on live the poultry trade in places where H7N9 cases have been reported.
H7N9 was first reported in humans in China in March 2013 and is most likely to strike in winter and spring.