Authorities in central China have detained a man accused of claiming social media Webchat that bird flu had come to his province.
The man in question, identified only as ‘Zhou,’ was cited by the state press agency Xinhua as saying over the weekend that a pregnant doctor at the Yichang People’s Hospital in Hubei had died of the H7N9 virus, Reuters reports. He is also accused of having said that “multiple cases” of the infection were found in “other regions of the province.”
Xinhua also reported that health authorities in the region had dismissed the rumor as untrue, due to the province having not yet reported any official human cases of the bird flu virus. The agency stated that “the post was spread widely among netizens and designed to cause panic.”
China has reported more than 120 cases of bird flu this year with over 31 deaths.