China reports first human case of H10N3 bird flu

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<p>File:  Workers vaccinate chicks with the H9 bird flu vaccine at a farm in Changfeng county, Anhui province, 14 April 2013</p> (Reuters)

File: Workers vaccinate chicks with the H9 bird flu vaccine at a farm in Changfeng county, Anhui province, 14 April 2013


China on Tuesday reported the first confirmed case of a person infected with the H10N3 strain of bird flu.

A 41-year-old man in the eastern province of Jiangsu was diagnosed on 28 May with the H10N3 avian influenza virus a month after he was hospitalised following high fever and other symptoms, said China's National Health Commission (NHC).

The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a genome sequence on a blood sample taken from the patient last week, confirming the strain.

The man found to be infected with the virus has been stable and is ready to be discharged from the hospital, reported Reuters. The NHC, however, did not elaborate on the cause of infection.

"This infection is an accidental cross-species transmission," its statement said. "The risk of large-scale transmission is low."

The medical observation of his close contacts has so far not found any other cases of infection.

The NHC added that H10N3 is a relatively less severe strain of the virus and has a low risk of it spreading on a large scale. However, experts have advised people in the region to avoid contact with sick or dead poultry as well as avoid direct contact with live birds.

Explaining the nature of the strain, Filip Claes, regional laboratory coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization's Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases at the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, told Reuters that it is "not a very common virus”.

He said, that 160 isolates of the virus were reported in the 40 years till 2018, mostly in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and some limited parts of North America. He added that genetic data of the virus would be necessary to examine if it resembles older viruses or is a novel mix of different viruses.

Additional reporting from the wires

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