SHANGHAI, China – Live poultry markets in Shanghai will be closed from the end of January to April 30 to prevent the spread of the H7N9 avian flu virus, according to news reports.

News reports state that 117 markets will be affected. Public health officials said the new prevention measure will occur annually for the next five years while officials evaluate its effectiveness. In April 2013, more than 20,000 birds were slaughtered at a Shanghai market where a pigeon tested positive for the virus. Officials in Shanghai later closed the market.

Shanghai recorded the first case of H7N9 of 2014 on Jan. 3. The patient is an 86-year-old man who bought live poultry.