‘First human case’ of H3N8 bird flu reported in China

China on Tuesday said it has recorded its first human case of the H3N8 strain of bird flu.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) made the disclosure via a public statement.

Bird flu is a condition caused by an influenza virus which is generally observed among wild aquatic birds. It can also infect domestic poultry, other birds, and animals. Bird flu infections in humans, though possible, is rare.

According to the health commission, the H3N8 strain of bird flu has been previously detected globally in horses, dogs, poultry, and seals, but no human cases of H3N8 have been reported.

It said the variant was found in a four-year-old boy from the central province of Henan who had been in contact with poultry and showed fever symptoms on April 5.

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It, however, said the risk of the variant’s spread among people is low.

“In Henan Province, medical observation and sampling tests were carried out on close contacts of the children, and no abnormalities were found,” the statement reads.

“The National Health Commission has guided Henan Province to carry out prevention and control in accordance with relevant plans and organized experts to carry out risk assessments. Experts have preliminarily assessed that the H3N8 avian influenza virus is avian-derived and does not yet have the ability to effectively infect people. The outbreak is an occasional bird-to-human cross-species transmission, and the risk of large-scale transmission is low.”

China had in 2021 also recorded its first human case of the H10N3 strain of bird flu in a 41-year-old man.

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The Coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 6 million people globally was first reported in China in December 2019.

With Agency report

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