Dozens Held for Spreading H7N9 Rumors in China04-10 11:18 Caijing
At least 13 people were detained in China for spreading rumors about H7N9, a new type of bird flu which has so far claimed lives of nine, triggering worries that it might evolve into the next SARS crisis.
A man in Xi’an was held by local police for posting that over ten were killed by H7N9 in the northwest Chinese city via his weibo account and other social sites.
The rumor monger, surnamed “Nan”, confessed that the posts were all made up in order to boost his popularity on the Internet.
China has confirmed 28 cases of H7N9 bird flu, all of them in South China provinces, including Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang. Five of the 13 victims in Shanghai were dead.
Most of the detainees were to be held for 5 days, while a guy in Guiyang, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, got a 10-day detention for "actively" spreading rumors that the H7N9 virus was detected in a local poultry market.
China is mobilizing resources nationwide to combat the new strain of bird flu while Anhui Province activated the preliminary “emergency response IV” plan, which calls for close monitoring of high-risky areas for the virus.
Two cases of H7N9 were confirmed in Anhui with one fatal.
Other places where no H7N9 cases have been confirmed also stay on high alert. The Shandong Province in northwest China is spending 146million yuan on animal vaccination and bird flu prevention.
There have been no signs showing that the virus could spread between humans.
An outbreak of SARS in South China and then Hong Kong between November 2002 and July 2003, became a pandemic, with 8,273 cases and 775 deaths worldwide according to the World Health Organization .
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