China Reports First Confirmed H10N3 Bird Flu A man in eastern China has been infected, which may be the world’s first human case of the H10N3 strain of bird flu, but the government says the risk of large-scale spread is low.
The 41-year-old man in Jiangsu Province, northwest of Shanghai, was hospitalized on April 28 and is in stable condition, the National Health Commission announced on Tuesday on its website.
Investigating his close contacts found no other cases, the NHC said.
The H10N3 case has not been reported elsewhere, the commission said.
“This infection is an unintentional interspecies infection,” its statement says.
“The risk of large-scale data transfer is small.”
In response to a request for comment, the World Health Organization stated that the source of the patient’s exposure to the H10N3 virus was “currently unknown.”
“No other cases of emergency surveillance were observed among the local population. There are currently no signs from person to person.”
“As long as bird flu viruses circulate in poultry, the occasional bird flu infection in humans is not surprising, which is a living reminder that the threat of an influenza pandemic is constant,” the WHO added.
H10N3 Bird Flu Not a very common virus
The strain is not a “widespread virus,” said Filip Claes, coordinator of the FAO Regional Office for Transboundary Animal Diseases of the Asia-Pacific Regional Office.
Only about 160 virus isolates have been reported in the 40 years to 2018, mainly in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and a few parts of North America.
None of the chickens has been spotted so far, he added.
Analyzing the genetic data for the virus would be necessary to determine if it resembles older viruses or whether it is a new mix of different viruses, Dr Claes said.
The news focuses on increased awareness of the threat of new diseases as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives worldwide.
But unlike coronaviruses, global influenza surveillance systems follow cases of bird flu in humans as a strain called H5N1 grew in the late 1990s in the crowded live poultry market in Hong Kong.
Between 2013 and 2017, another bird flu called H7N9 infected more than 1,500 people in China in close contact with infected chickens.
With this history, the authorities are not surprised to see random human cases of different strains of bird flu, and they closely monitor for possible signs between humans.