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China reports the first-ever case of H10N3 avian influenza in humans, the disease was limited to birds until now

This comes amidst the panic-stricken environment created due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which is believed to have originated from China.

After more than a year since the world is grappling with the Chinese virus, East China’s Jiangsu Province has now reported the world’s first case of a human infected with H10N3 avian influenza (bird flu). 

As per a report by the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times, Chinese health authorities on Tuesday claimed that it is a case of occasional poultry-to-human transmission, and the risk of a large-scale spread is extremely low. This comes amidst the panic-stricken environment created due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which is believed to have originated from China. 

The 41-year-old patient from Zhenjiang, a city in Jiangsu Province reported fever and other symptoms on April 23. He had to be admitted to a local medical institute for treatment on April 28, informed China’s National Health Commission on Tuesday.

In an update, NHC informed that the patient’s condition is currently stable and is ready to be discharged from the hospital.

China on H10N3 bird flue case in humans: “Risk of large-scale spread extremely low”

As of now, China’s Health Commission claims that the H10N3 virus of avian origin (bird flu) does not have the ability to effectively infect humans as per the genetic analysis of the virus.

NHC in its statement said, “No human cases of H10N3 have been reported in the world, and the H10N3 virus among poultry is low pathogenic. This case is an occasional poultry-to-human cross-species transmission, and the risk of a large-scale spread is extremely low.”

No evidence on how the person got infected

Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director of the Pathogen Biology Department at Wuhan University says H10N3 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus, and also known as the bird flu virus. 

Advising people to not overreact to the case, Yang expressed bewilderment on how this person got infected as H10N3 is normally lethal to wild birds and poultry.

In a worrisome justification, Yang informed that there might be a possibility of the virus spreading through respiratory droplets among the animals, just like the flu and COVID-19.

He also advised studies to be carried out to monitor how the virus spreads. He reiterated that there is no evidence to indicate that H10N3 virus can cause human-to-human transmission as yet.

Preventive measures put in place

The NHC has issued orders to Jiangsu to carry out relevant epidemic prevention and control measures. The close contacts of the patient have also been put under medical observation. 

Emergency monitoring is being conducted by the local authorities, however, no abnormalities have been found so far. 

NHC has warned the public to avoid any contact with sick or dead poultry and to avoid direct contact with live poultry too. 

Previously recorded cases of avian influenza

In December 2020 Central China’s Hunan Province had reported a human infection case of the H5N6 bird flu. Russia too had reported the first case of human infection with the avian influenza A(H5N8) virus in the world in February this year.

Among the various types of avian influenza, H5N1 type is said to be highly pathogenic, with a high fatality rate between 40 and 50 per cent.

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