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First human case of Bird Flu H10N3 found in China with several strains

A 41-year-old man in East China's Jiangsu province has been confirmed as the first human case to be infected with the rare bird flu virus known as H10N3, Beijing's National Health Commission (NHC) said on Tuesday.
bird flu china
Image by Andreas Göllner from Pixabay

Many bird flu species exist in China and some occasionally infect people, usually those who work with chickens. There is no indication that H10N3 can easily spread to humans.

The man, a resident of Zhenjiang city, was admitted to hospital on April 28 and diagnosed with H10N3 on May 28, the health commission said. It did not provide details about how the man became infected.

His condition is now stable and he is ready to be released. Investigations of people close to him found no other cases, the NHC said. No other cases of human H10N3 infection have been reported worldwide, he added.

H10N3 is low-pathogenic, which means that it causes very serious diseases in chickens and is unlikely to cause major outbreaks, the NHC added.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in an interview with Reuters in Geneva, stated: “The source of the patient's exposure to H10N3 patient is unknown at this time, and no other cases have been found in the emergency room. At this point, there is no indication of a person-to-person transfer.

"As long as the flu virus is circulating in chickens, the occasional bird flu outbreak in humans is not surprising, which is a clear reminder that the flu threat continues," added the WHO.

This species is "not a very common virus", said Filip Claes, regional coordinator for the Food and Agriculture Organization's Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases at the Asia-Pacific regional office.

Only 160 strains of the virus were reported in the years 40 to 2018, mostly in wild birds or seabirds in Asia and other restricted areas in North America, and none have been detected in chickens so far, he added.

Analyzing the genetic information of the virus will need to determine whether it is similar to older viruses or a novel combination of different viruses, Claes said.

There are no significant statistics on human bird flu infections since the H7N9 massacre killed an estimated 300 people in 2016-2017.

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