China bird flu: First Human Case of H3N8 bird flu reported in China in a 4-year old

Bird flu to humans: A 4-year-old boy in China has tested positive for the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8 after being hospitalized earlier in April with a fever and other symptoms.

H3N8 human cases reported in China
H3N8 human cases reported in China

First case of bird flu in humans: China has reported the first known human case of the H3N8 strain of avian flu in a 4-year-old. However, the health authorities of China have said that there is a low risk of widespread transmission among the people.

The National Health Commission of the country announced on April 26, 2022, that a four-year-old boy living in Central Henan province of China has tested positive for the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8 after being hospitalized earlier in April with a fever and other symptoms.

China’s National Health Commission has also warned the public, that even though transmission of H3N8 is slow among people, they must stay away from the dead or sick birds and must also seek immediate treatment for fever or respiratory problems.

China reports first case of H3N8 bird flu: Details

China’s National Health Commission confirmed that a 4-year-old boy living in Henan province tested positive for H3N8 bird flu making it the first human case of being infected with the virus.

The boy’s family in Henan raised chickens at home and lived in an area that was populated by the wild ducks. The boy in the family was infected directly by the birds and the H3N8 strain was not found to have the ability to effectively infect the humans.

The National Health Commission also informed that the boy’s case was a ‘one-off cross-species transmission' and that the risk of large-scale transmission is low.

Influenza A Virus subtype H3N8

H3N8 is a subtype of Influenza A virus that is endemic in horses, birds, and dogs. The subtype is the main cause of equine influenza and is also known as equine influenza virus.

H3N8 is known to have been circulating since 2002 after it first emerged in North American waterfowl. Cats have also been experimentally infected with the virus, leading to clinical signs, shedding of the virus, and infection of other cats.

What is Avian Influenza?

Avian Influenza has mainly occurred in the wild bords and poultry and the cases of transmission among humans are extremely rare.

The H5N1 and H7N9 strains of the bird flu which were detected in 1979 and 2013, respectively, have been responsible for most of the cases of human illness from avian influenza.

Avian Influenza: How dangerous is it for humans?

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), human infections of zoonotic, or animal-borne, influenzas are primarily acquired because of the direct contact with the infected animals or contaminated environments, however, do not result in the efficient transmission of viruses between people.

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