9 Apr 2013

WHO calls for calm over bird flu epidemic

11:01 am on 9 April 2013

The World Health Organisation has called for calm as concern mounts about a bird flu epidemic developing in China.

Another person has reportedly died from the H7N9 bird flu virus, bringing the death toll to seven. More than 20 people have been infected.

China has closed poultry markets and restricted the movement of birds around the country and the World Health Organisation has asked that it be allowed to send a team of scientists to China to monitor the situation.

''This is not a time for over-reaction or panic,'' said WHO China chief Michael O'Leary. "So far, we really only have sporadic cases of a rare disease, and perhaps it will remain that way.

Cases of the virus have so far been contained to eastern China, in Shanghai and neighbouring provinces.

The ABC reports Hong Kong will start testing live chickens for the virus at the border from Thursday.