China's food markets represent a long-standing tradition -- and a serious disease transmission threat as the country grapples with an outbreak of H7N9 avian influenza. Reducing risk involves changes such as closing live markets for at least a day each month to disinfect the poultry area, according to Leo Lit Man Poon of the University of Hong Kong's School of Public Health, but he says stopping the spread of the virus is difficult. "[H7N9] reminds us that human health and veterinary health are one and the same thing and we need to be constantly vigilant," said physician Gabriel Leung, of the same school as Poon. "We are linked to animals not just by contact but also by the food chain."
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