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04/11/2013

Why badminton-crazed Indonesia is feeling the effects of bird flu in China

Chicken
An official holds a chicken during a poultry check at the border with mainland China in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

Any new outbreak like the H7N9 situation unfolding in eastern China is bound to be disruptive. To date, there have been 38 confirmed cases and 10 deaths, according to the latest update from the WHO, and predictably, there are now reports of busy hospitals, suffering airlines, falling stock prices and, of course, the thousands of poultry now being slaughtered as public health officials try to stem the outbreak. KFC in China is apparently also taking a hit -- as are McDonald's McNugget meals.

But there are other, less obvious ripple effects when a new virus suddenly pops up and causes widespread alarm. A few examples:

  • sales of isatis roots, used in herbal remedies, have "skyrocketed" in Fujian, China, according to China Daily
  • a sudden share boost for Malaysian rubber glove makers, according to Borneo Post
  • a feared shuttlecock shortage in "badminton-crazy Indonesia," which imports dried duck feathers from China for its shuttlecocks, according to this Agence France-Presse story

Jennifer Yang is the Star’s global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar

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