About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use Accuracy & Fairness Corrections & Clarifications Ethics Code Your Ad Choices
© MEAWW All rights reserved

How dangerous is H3N8 bird flu? China sees first human infection in 4-year-old

The patient 'developed fever and other symptoms on April 5, and was admitted to a local medical institution'
UPDATED APR 27, 2022
The patient had reportedly lived close to chickens and black-bone chickens (Edwin Remsberg/ Representational image/ Getty Images)
The patient had reportedly lived close to chickens and black-bone chickens (Edwin Remsberg/ Representational image/ Getty Images)

A four-year-old boy from central Henan province in China has become the first human to be infected with the H3N8 strain of bird flu. The country's health authority confirmed it on Tuesday, April 26, but noted that further spread of the virus among humans is low. China's National Health Commission (NHC) also said that people who came close to the boy are safe and in good health.

A statement from NHC read: “The National Health Commission announced on April 26 that a human case of H3N8 avian influenza was found in Henan Province. Before the onset of the disease, the patient had raised chickens and black-bone chickens at home, and there were wild ducks around the home. He developed fever and other symptoms on April 5, and was admitted to a local medical institution for treatment on the 10th due to aggravation of his condition.”


Experts warn of 'stealth Omicron' wave as 'high rate of concealment' sends shockwaves across China

Did Fauci really call Covid ‘Wuhan strain’? Remark compared to Trump's ‘China virus’ rhetoric

It continued: “On the 24th, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a test on the patient specimen sent from Henan Province, and the result was positive for the H3N8 avian influenza virus. Henan Province carried out medical observation and sampling tests on the close contacts of the child, and no abnormality was found,” before adding: “The National Health Commission has instructed Henan Province to carry out prevention and control in accordance with relevant plans, and organized experts to carry out risk assessments. Experts' preliminary assessment believes that the H3N8 avian influenza virus is of avian origin and does not yet have the ability to effectively infect humans. This outbreak is an occasional bird-to-human cross-species transmission, and the risk of a large-scale epidemic is low.”

The government guidelines mentioned that people should not be near sick and dead poultry, and “pay attention to dietary hygiene, and separate raw and cooked food during food processing.” Also, if anyone fell sick and experienced respiratory symptoms, they should immediately contact their doctors and wear masks.

Ian Mackay, a virologist at the University of Queensland, Australia commented on the rare case and remarked, “These early infections should always be responded to thoroughly and comprehensively with sensitive testing of contacts to ensure no other spread occurred or is ongoing.” He also stated that these kinds of human infection happen rarely but will continue to ensue “while we live very close to virus hosts”.

This new case comes as last year in June, China reported its first case of H10N3 bird flu found in a human. At the time, NHC stated that a 41-year-old man from the eastern province of Jiangsu was infected. He was admitted to a hospital on April 28 and tested positive with H10N3 a month later.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had told Reuters: “The source of the patient’s exposure to the H10N3 virus is not known at this time, and no other cases were found in emergency surveillance among the local population. At this time, there is no indication of human-to-human transmission. As long as avian influenza viruses circulate in poultry, sporadic infection of avian influenza in humans is not surprising, which is a vivid reminder that the threat of an influenza pandemic is persistent.”