BEIJING, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said on Monday that the H7N9 bird flu virus has not been found in the country's poultry farms, but it has been detected in live poultry markets in some provinces.
Of the 33,400 samples from 2,402 sites tested since the beginning of2014, eight samples tested positive for H7N9, said the ministry. The eight positive samples came from five live poultry markets in Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the MOA.
In 2013, 88 of a total of 1.63 million samples tested positive for H7N9. They came from 26 live poultry markets in 10 provinces, including Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang.
The MOA urged local authorities to strengthen monitoring of live poultry, continue vaccine research and development, tighten cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, and prevent the virus from spreading to poultry farms.
On Sunday, three new human H7N9 cases were reported in east China's Zhejiang Province and south China's Guangdong Province.
Human cases of H7N9 have been reported in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Beijing, Jiangsu, Fujian and Guangdong.
Zhejiang, which has seen new H7N9 cases for 18 consecutive days with a total of 49 cases, is home to the largest number of human infections among all provinces this year.
With Spring Festival being peak season for poultry sales and consumption, some poultry markets in Zhejiang have been suspended to prevent the spread of infection.
Since the H7N9 influenza outbreak in March 2013, the country's poultry industry has suffered losses worth more than 40 billion yuan (6.7 billion U.S. dollars) after the closure of poultry markets.