th up to 79 people dead from bird flu in the past month alone, fears are rising that China could be facing the most dangerous season on record. I'm in Shanghai. Live poultry markets are currently banned in this city but in other parts of the country, they're thriving and so is the H7N9 virus.
January's death rate was four times higher than previous years, bringing the death toll to at least 100 people since October. State media has issued a warning online telling people to avoid live poultry markets. According to one virus expert who spoke to Reuters, there's been a slower than usual response to the outbreak from the markets themselves.
Some refusing to shut down quickly and contain the spread. The government says there have been just over 300 bird flu cases in the past three to four months, but other health groups say the number is actually much higher. Chicken prices in China have fallen to their lowest level in a decade as the virus worsens.
Although no major human to human spread has been recorded so far, the World Health Organization says it's impossible to rule out.