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H7N9 Surveillance and control in animals

Activities in the People’s Republic of China


Emergency activities


Chinese authorities immediately conducted emergency active surveillance in animals throughout the territory in April 2013.


Results shared by Chinese authorities can be found here.


Ongoing activities


Chinese authorities announced an active surveillance strategy to monitor H7N9 avian influenza during the second half of 2013 in animals throughout the territory to be conducted in September 2013. The authorities released a new national surveillance strategy specific to H7N9.


Targeted for sampling:


  • chickens (special emphasis on layer and certain types of chickens to be kept longer)
  • waterfowl (ducks, geese)
  • captive-bred pigeons, quail, etc.
  • wild birds

In addition, environmental samples are being collected.


Sampling locations:


  • wholesale live bird markets
  • live bird trading area (stalls) at farmers' markets
  • large-scale poultry farms
  • village/backyard poultry
  • poultry slaughterhouses
  • wild migrating bird habitats

Diagnostic tests being utilized:


  • serological tests to detect H7 antibodies: hemagglutination inhibition (HI) test
  • virological tests for virus detection: fluorescence quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the H7 gene fragment


Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Veterinary Bureau (in Chinese)


Virology helps identify active infection with the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus. Serology helps determine if animals have been exposed to H7N9 in the past.


Activities in other countries


Countries adjacent to China have heightened border controls. Several countries in the region have announced a temporary import ban on live birds from China.


Countries at risk are scaling up surveillance efforts and are collecting additional samples in the framework of the USAID-funded FAO Project “Emergency Surveillance response to Avian Influenza A (H7N9) in China and High Risk Countries”.