Via the South China Morning Post: China's poultry industry wants to hush up bird flu news in damage control bid. Excerpt:
China’s poultry industry leaders have asked health authorities to share less information about an outbreak of bird flu, as sales have suffered from an ever increasing death toll.
In open letters, the national association of poultry farmers and their provincial counterparts in Guangxi and Guangdong have as asked local authorities to “stop reporting individual cases of H7N9”, referring to the deadly bird flu strain, according to a report in the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Authorities should “avoid excessively detailed reports” on infections to prevent further damage to the industry, the report said.
Another statement on the website of the National Animal Husbandry Association claimed that identifying the virus as a bird flu strain has brought “disaster” to the industry, leading to losses of more than 100 billion yuan[US$16.5 billion] (HK$127 billion).
The letter, signed by 1,012 poultry industry executives, said some industry players were facing heavy losses and even bankruptcy due to the disease’s stigma and misinformation by the media over its spread via the birds. Losses so far this year have already amounted to 20 billion yuan, it said.
Guangdong authorities have stopped sharing unsolicited reports on infections with the press over the last days, Xinhua said on Wednesday.
However, a name change for H7N9 – which industry associations want to be called simply as “flu” – has yet to occur. The World Health Organisation and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention continue to refer to the disease as avian flu.
I can well understand the industry's anxiety, but trying to disconnect the disease from its source would only make matters worse.