China's poultry industry has lost more than $1.6 billion since reports of avian influenza emerged in early April, an official at the country's National Poultry Industry Association said.

Thousands of birds have been slaughtered and live poultry markets in Shanghai and Beijing have been closed in an attempt to reduce the rate of human infection and ease fears about the H7N9 virus.

However, new cases are being reported daily. In total, 14 people have now died from the virus and 63 have been infected, the official Xinhua news agency told Reuters. Most of the cases to date have been in eastern China, where poultry consumption is reportedly down by more than half.

Poultry prices have also dropped 1.5 percent on decreased consumer confidence and weaker demand, according to National Bureau of Statistics data released on April 15.