• Chinese health officials warn the public to stay away from contact with poultry.

Chinese health officials warn the public to stay away from contact with poultry. (Photo : Getty Images)

The Health and Family Planning Commission announced another series of deaths caused by the H7N9 virus.

The local government of Yunnan reported that a 23-year-old patient died days after the demise of her 3-year-old daughter from the deadly virus.

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The family when to Jiangxi Province for holiday during the Spring Festival. The mother and daughter had contact with birds in the area.

The mother was hospitalized four days later and had contact with her daughter. The toddler died on Feb. 7. Others who had contact with the mother and child were tested and were virus-free.

Compared to last year, the deaths and cases of patients with the avian flu have increased, according to the health commission. The death toll is now at 79.

In January, there were only five deaths.

The rapid spread of the virus has affected Beijing, Sichuan, Hunan and Zhejiang. Many poultry farms have already culled about 180,000 birds as infection spread.

The commission also issued a public warning and said that people should stay away from contact with birds to avoid contamination.

An official of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Ni Daxin said that the preference for freshly slaughtered chicken is contributing to the spread of the virus.

"If the public buys only frozen poultry, control of the epidemic will be much easier," Ni said.

Contact with diseased poultry and bird waste is also a major cause of contamination in rural areas. Sanitization of poultry farms is strongly urged.

The virus hits a peak of contamination around spring and winter. The global epidemic has affected many countries in Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

The first case of bird flu was reported in China in 2013. The damage then caused damages in the agricultural sector reaching $6 billion.

In December, the Ministry of Agriculture stopped the trade of poultry from certain areas. They stated that they have handled the situation in an effective manner to stop the spread of the disease.