China announced a sixth death from a new bird flu strain Friday, while authorities halted the sale of live fowl and slaughtered of all poultry at a Shanghai market where the virus was detected in pigeons being sold for meat.
The mass bird killing is the first so far as the Chinese government responds to the H7N9 strain of bird flu, which has sickened 14 people, many critically, along the eastern seaboard in its first known infections of people. The first cases were announced Sunday.
Health officials believe people are contracting the virus through direct contact with infected fowl and say there has been no evidence so far that the virus is spreading easily between people. However, scientists are watching closely to see if the flu poses a substantial risk to public health or could potentially spark a global pandemic.