First human case of H10N3 bird flu in China
China's National Health Commission (NHC) on Tuesday said a 41-year-old man in the nation's eastern province of Jiangsu has been confirmed as the first human case of infection with the H10N3 strain of bird flu.
The NHC in a statement said the man was hospitalised on April 28 after developing fever and other symptoms.
What do we know about H10N3 bird flu?
The NHC said that H10N3 is a low pathogenic, or relatively less severe, strain of the virus in poultry and the risk of it spreading on a large scale was very low.
The strain is "not a very 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 the Pacific.
He added that only around 160 isolates of the virus were reported in the 40 years to 2018, mostly in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and some limited parts of North America, and none had been detected in chickens so far.
Claes said that analysing the genetic data of the virus will be necessary to determine whether it resembles older viruses or if it is a novel mix of different viruses.
The NHC statement also said that experts assessed that the full genetic analysis of the virus showed that the H10N3 virus was of avian origin.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a genome sequence on a blood sample from the patient last week and confirmed that it was the H10N3 strain.
Steps to prevent spread of Virus
- Experts have advised that people in the region should avoid contact with sick or dead poultry, and try to avoid direct contact with live birds.
- The NHC advised that the people should pay attention to food hygiene, wear masks, improve self-protection awareness and check for fever and respiratory symptoms.
Several strains of avian influenza present in China
Many different strains of avian influenza are present in China and some sporadically infect people, usually those working with poultry. There have been no significant numbers of human infections with bird flu since the H7N9 strain killed around 300 people during 2016-2017.
The NHC further said that no other cases of human infection with H10N3 have previously been reported globally.