HANGZHOU, China - The handful of poultry dealers lingering at Chengbei Market have had little to do since Chinese authorities shut down their livelihoods after H7N9 bird flu began stalking the country again, killing scores of people this year.
They spend their days counting the losses to their business, gambling at cards and cleaning the cages which once held thousands of live birds, hoping the government will allow the trade to resume.
"The chickens lay every day and I can't sell the eggs. We are losing money," said Li Guiying, local boss of the Xuancheng Shandi Poultry Co.
H7N9 avian influenza has returned to China with a vengeance, sickening 226 people and killing 72 so far this year, as the government girds for what is likely to be a long battle to contain what one World Health Organization (WHO) official has labelled an "epidemic".