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China finds bird flu in five new sites: OIE

A boy plays inside a closed chicken market in Shanghai April 10, 2013. The death toll in China from a new strain of bird flu rose to nine on
A boy plays inside a closed chicken market in Shanghai April 10, 2013. The death toll in China from a new strain of bird flu rose to nine on

PARIS (Reuters) - China found new cases of bird flu in five live bird markets in the eastern part of the country, a report posted on the website of the World Animal Health Organisation OIE showed on Wednesday.

China said the H7N9 avian influenza virus was found on Wednesday in three live bird markets in Jiangsu province, one in Anhui province and one in Zhejiang province, the report said. It did not specify in what kind of birds the virus was found.

The three previous outbreaks reported last week were all in China's financial hub Shanghai.

Nine people have died out of 33 confirmed human cases of the virus, according to data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Wednesday.

The latest H7N9 victim was from Anhui province, the official Xinhua news agency said. Among the new cases are several from Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, at least one of whom is dangerously ill, it said.

Reports submitted by China's farm ministry to the OIE last week showed that the first case of H7N9 in birds was found on April 4 on a pigeon destined for human consumption in a wholesale market in Shanghai.

Authorities also discovered seven infected chickens in the same market, which lead to the culling of 20,536 poultry in total.

The next day, one infected chicken was found at the Jingchuan market in Shanghai, and two chickens and two pigeons were discovered at the Fengzhuang market, also in Shanghai, reports showed.

Member countries of the OIE have the obligation to declare bird flu cases when found in domestic animals, or when they are highly pathogenic, which is not the case in this instance.

For details of the new outbreaks: http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/public/wahid.php/Reviewreport/Review?reportid=13249

(This story has been refiled to fix a typo in the lead)

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Muriel Boselli and Michael Roddy)

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