China has reported the first “human” case of bird flu!

Image: The Verge

A 41-year-old man in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu has been confirmed because the first human case of infection with the H10N3 strain of bird flu, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Tuesday.

The man, a resident of the town of Zhenjiang, was hospitalised on April 28 after developing a fever and other symptoms, the NHC said during a statement.

He was diagnosed as having the H10N3 avian influenza virus on May 28, it said, but didn’t explain on how the person had been infected with the virus.

The man was stable and prepared to be discharged from hospital. Medical observation of his close contacts had not found the other cases.

H10N3 may be a low pathogenic, or relatively less severe, strain of the virus in poultry and therefore the risk of it spreading on an outsized scale was very low, the NHC added.

The strain is “not a really common virus,” said Filip Claes, regional laboratory coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases at the Regional Office for Asia and therefore the Pacific.

China Reports First Human Case Of H10N3 Bird Flu

Only around 160 isolates of the virus were reported within the 40 years to 2018, mostly in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and a few limited parts of North America, and none had been detected in chickens thus far , he added.

Analysing the genetic data of the virus are going to be necessary to work out whether it resembles older viruses or if it’s a completely unique mixture of different viruses, Claes said.

Many different strains of avian influenza are present in China and a few sporadically infect people, usually those working with poultry. There are no significant numbers of human infections with bird flu since the H7N9 strain killed around 300 people during 2016-2017.

No other cases of human infection with H10N3 have previously been reported globally, the NHC said.


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