What is H3N8 bird flu detected in China?
H3N8 viral strain, which is known to infect horses, dogs, and even seals, has now been detected in humans, with China reporting the first case.
The virus has infected a four-year-old boy living in China's central Henan province who showed fever and other symptoms, the National Health Commission said in a statement.
The statement added that the child's family raised chickens at home and lived in an area populated by wild ducks. His case is one-off cross-species transmission, and the risk of large-scale transmission is low. The child's close contacts have tested negative for the virus.
Nevertheless, the health agency warned the citizens to maintain distance from dead or sick birds and further advised an immediate treatment for fever or respiratory symptoms.
China has heavily populated farmed and wild birds of many species, providing an ideal environment for avian viruses to mix and mutate. Last year, the country reported the first human case of H10N3.
H3N8 was responsible for the deaths of more than 160 seals off the northeastern coast of the United States in 2012 after it caused deadly pneumonia in the animals.
Avian influenza occurs mainly in wild birds and poultry, with the cases of transmission between humans being extremely rare.
H5N1 and H7N9 strains of bird flu, detected in 1997 and 2013, respectively, have been responsible for most cases of human illness from avian influenza, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to WHO, avian influenza is primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments but does not result in the efficient transmission of these viruses between people.
The common symptoms of bird flu in humans are cough, fever, sore throat, fatigue, headache, and dyspnea.
Severe bird flu symptoms include pneumonia, conjunctivitis, respiratory failure, kidney dysfunction, and heart problems.