CIDRAP: Of the seven recent H7N9 cases confirmed by the WHO, four had contact with live poultry or a market setting.
5 modern diseases grown by factory farming
Industrial agriculture is making us sick. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), nutritional scientists, and medical professionals warn against the health risks of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). There is a near consensus among experts that overuse of antibiotics, crowded and unsanitary livestock conditions, unnatural feed diets, and a lack of diversification are responsible for some serious global health risks.
Contracting bugs from animals is nothing new. In fact, zoonoses (infectious diseases transferred between species) are a natural part of evolutionary biology. But modern industrial farming practices can turn health issues that were once fairly benign into real concerns.
Factory farming creates perfect conditions for the proliferation of super bugs: The stress and unsanitary conditions of CAFOs weaken animals' immune systems, making them more susceptible to infection; overcrowding allows disease to spread quickly and easily; and over time, antibiotics can cause resistant strains of bacteria to evolve. These conditions, combined with a lack of diversification, create a petri dish for dangerous diseases.
The Hidden Health Hazards of Factory Farms
Factory farms are breeding grounds for virulent disease, which can then spread to the wider community via many routes — not just in food, but also in water, the air, and the bodies of farmers, farm workers, and their families. Once those microbes become widespread in the environment, it’s very difficult to get rid of them.
Gao said that closing live poultry markets, adopting more intensive livestock farming practices and using the mass slaughter of live poultry are good measures to control the spread of the H7N9 epidemic.
The Shanghai City government has announced it will shut down live poultry markets from the Lunar New Year holiday (Jan. 31) until April 30. (Cheng Chung-sheng and Y.L. Kao)
Disease expert and minister lock horns over poultry ban
Hong Kong should immediately stop imports of live poultry from the mainland until a more reliable test for H7N9 bird flu is available, infectious diseases expert Yuen Kwok-yung says. Yuen's call came a few hours after Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man continued to reject calls for the suspension of poultry imports, despite more human cases of H7N9 in Guangdong.
...Ko said poultry farms supplying Hong Kong are isolated from wholesale and retail markets in the mainland and therefore it is unnecessary to suspend imports.
"Previously I already pointed out that banning live poultry from farms in Shenzhen is already an advanced step as a measure for risk management, because we couldn't trace the source of the first and second patients who contracted H7N9 returning from Shenzhen," Ko said.
"This is a controversial action, in fact. I hope in the future we don't need to take this kind of approach, but use serum tests. I hope I can inform the public of this as soon as possible."