Beijing: China is ordering the closure of live poultry markets in its south-central regions where the worst outbreak of bird flu in years has killed at least 87 people.
State media reported Friday that the National Health and Family Planning Commission ordered closures anywhere that cases of the H7N7 strain had been detected.
Most reported cases have been found in the densely populated Yangtze and Pearl river deltas that generally experience mild, wet winters that are ideal for the virus's transmission.
The death toll since the start of the year has been unmatched since at least 2013.
In addition to the market closures, the commission is training health workers in the screening, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease, while urging people to avoid contact with live birds.