Beijing: China continues to grapple with rising number of bird flu cases as two more people were confirmed infected with the deadly H7N9 strain, taking the total to 21 while official media blamed the outbreak on intense farming and density of population.
Shanghai, China`s biggest metropolis with 23 million people is bearing the brunt of the new avian influenza as two more cases were confirmed there taking the total to ten in the city, four of whom died.
In all, twenty cases were reported so far in China resulting in six deaths, according to official figures.
Shanghai along with Hangzhou and Nanjing has already banned the sale of poultry and culled thousands of chickens and other birds after tracing the virus to pigeons.
Besides disinfecting the schools and public areas, the city also banned public entry into bird exhibitions and zoos and prohibited the sale of wild birds as pets and banned pigeon races, discouraging the favourite hobby of local people.
Meanwhile, state-run Global Times quoted health officials as ruling out an epidemic on the scale of scale of the SARS outbreak, (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which killed hundreds in China a decade ago, saying that it is not likely to repeat with H7N9 this time.
Pointing out that the new virus has broken out in affluent areas, not poor places, the daily said agriculture, especially animal husbandry, has become more intense and populations more dense in China`s southern and eastern coastal areas.
"There is greater chance of contact between humans and animals and subsequent diseases. Local authorities have to develop disease prevention and control methods to match this situation but this is a weak spot in the country`s overall development," it said.
"It is a great achievement for China to have established an advanced emergency response system after several tests in preventing the large-scale spread of diseases. But the nation has to move ahead and reduce the chance of new kinds of diseases from breaking out," it said.
Over 10,000 dead pigs recently found floating in the Huangpu River near Shanghai have shown that the development in Yangtze River Delta is still rudimentary, it said adding that it will take a much longer time for the country`s coastal areas to become real developed societies and China has to invest more in the safety of agricultural products, it said.