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China detects world’s first human case of H3N8 bird flu

Thus, this is the first time that the H3N8 influenza virus has infected humans.

Information released by China’s National Health Commission (NHC) on April 26 shows that the patient is a 4-year-old boy, from Henan province, who was identified as infected with the H3N8 influenza virus after developing a fever. and showed other symptoms on April 5 and was admitted to a local medical facility for treatment due to worsening of the condition on April 10.

Before that, the boy had contact with poultry raised in his own home. NHC said that the patient infected with H3N8 bird flu had contact with chickens and crows raised at home and around the house with mallards. Notably, none of the close contacts of this patient became infected.

China detected the world's first human case of H3N8 bird flu - Photo 1.

A 4-year-old boy in central Henan province (China) contracted avian influenza H3N8 with fever and other symptoms. (Photo: Reuters)

According to Chinese health authorities, the H3N8 virus strain has previously been detected in other parts of the world in horses, dogs, birds and seals, but no human cases of H3N8 influenza have been reported. According to preliminary assessment of experts, this H3N8 virus originated from poultry and has not yet been able to infect humans effectively. The commission also said that the infection was just a coincidence and that “the risk of a large-scale epidemic is low”.

China has huge populations of domestic and wild birds with many species, creating an ideal environment for avian influenza virus strains to mutate and thrive. Various strains of avian influenza have emerged in China, and some have sporadically infect humans, often those who work with poultry. In 2021, China reported the world’s first human case of H10N3 bird flu.

China’s National Health Commission affirmed that the risk of H3N8 transmission between people is low.

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