Bird flu costs billions

Cost of containing China’s bird-flu outbreak estimated to be $6.5 billion

China’s outbreak of bird flu, or the H7N9 virus, appears to be controlled, but at enormous cost to the country’s economy.

The new virus, which has infected 130 people and caused 36 deaths in mainland China since March, was contained primarily by shutting down live-poultry markets and standardizing methods of transporting poultry to reduce infection among birds, according to Fox News. While it is highly pathogenic in humans, H7N9—which causes severe respiratory disease—is not virulent in birds, making it almost impossible for farmers to detect.

The economic impacts of H7N9 have been “astounding,” said Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer at the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization.

“Over $6.5 billion has been lost in the agricultural sector because of prices, consumer confidence and trade,” he said.