Poultry products are safe to eat as long as they are purchased from regular channels and thoroughly cooked, Li Lanjuan, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said Monday.
As of 10 p.m. Monday, 63 cases of the H7N9 bird flu had been reported across China, including Beijing and Shanghai, the central province of Henan and the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui.
Fourteen infection cases have resulted in death, according to local health authorities.
A large number of chickens have been slaughtered in the past two weeks, after the H7N9 virus was detected in some poultry markets in provinces and cities with infection cases.
The poultry industry has also been hit hard amid the bird flu scare.
Li said that when she was on a plane recently, she noticed that passengers refused to eat chicken supplied by flight attendants over H7N9 concerns.
"People should not worry about eating chicken, nor fear the strain," Li said, adding that the resistance of the H7N9 strain is very low and the virus is sensitive to high temperatures, ultraviolet rays and various kinds of sanitizers.
"The virus will be killed in two minutes after the temperature reaches 100 degrees Celsius or half an hour if the temperature is 60 degrees Celsius," said Li.
"Eating poultry and eggs is safe, but people should not forget to cook them thoroughly and avoid direct contact with poultry," she said, adding that to protect themselves against the virus, people should wear gloves if they need to handle undercooked poultry.
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2013)