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First human case of H10N3 avian influenza confirmed in China


First case of H10N3 avian influenza

In China, a human case of H10N3 bird flu has been confirmed in Jiangsu province.

This virus, which is not very pathogenic in chickens, does not seem to be able to be transmitted between humans.

The National Health Commission (NHC) of China announced, this Tuesday, June 1, 2021, a human case of H10N3 avian influenza.

That was in Jiangsu province, in the east of the country.

Influenza viruses that infect poultry are regularly transmitted to humans through close contact with sick animals.

In the case of the H10N3 strain, this is the first time it has been isolated in humans.

First human case of H10N3 avian influenza confirmed in China

H10N3 bird flu virus isolated in a human

The sick person presented to a hospital in Zhenjiang on April 28 with fever and other symptoms.

Sequencing of the virus taken from the 41-year-old man indicates that it is the H10N3 strain, belonging to the influenza A group of viruses.

 Unlike the H5N1 strain, the latter is not very virulent in poultry and does not seem to be able to effectively infect humans.

The Chinese National Health Commission considers that the risk of large-scale spread of the virus is very low.

The circumstances of the human infection are not known, but it appears that he breathed in microdroplets produced by infected chickens on a farm.

Also, it could be produced through direct contact with them.

The patient, whose health condition has improved, and his relatives have been placed under medical surveillance.

About H10N3 avian influenza

H10N3 is a low pathogenic or relatively less severe strain of the virus in poultry and the risk of widespread was very low.

In the past 40 years through 2018, there were only about 160 isolates of the virus, which have been reported.

Namely in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and some limited areas of North America, and none had been detected in chickens so far, he added.

Analysis of the virus' genetic data will be needed to determine whether it resembles older viruses or is a new mixture of different viruses, Claes said.

Several others strains of avian influenza viruses are present in China and some sporadically infect people, usually those who work with poultry.

 There have been no significant numbers of human bird flu infections since the H7N9 strain killed about 300 people in 2016-2017.

Fortunately, the NHC said that no other cases of human infection with H10N3 have been previously reported worldwide.

History of human infection with birth flu viruses

Normally, avian viruses do not infect species other than pigs and birds.

The first documented case of human infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997.

When an H5N1 strain caused severe respiratory illness in 18 people and death in 6.

This infection coincided with an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, caused by the same strain, affecting poultry in Hong Kong.


Extensive investigations into this outbreak revealed that close contact with live infected poultry was the source of human infection.

Genetic studies subsequently established that the virus had passed directly from birds to humans.

There was limited transmission to health care workers, but no severe form of the disease.

The rapid culling - within three days - of all poultry in Hong Kong, estimated to be about 1.5 million birds.

It reduced the possibility of further direct transmission to humans and may have averted a pandemic.

This event alarmed health authorities as it was the first time that an avian influenza virus had been transmitted directly to humans.

It was caused severe illness with high mortality.

These concerns were rekindled in February 2003, when an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in Hong Kong resulted in two cases and one death.

Another child in the family died during that visit, but the cause of death is unknown.

Two other avian viruses have recently caused illness in humans.

An outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza began in the Netherlands in February 2003.

It resulted in the death of a veterinarian two months later and a mild case in 83 people.

Mild cases of H9N2 avian influenza first occurred in children in Hong Kong in 1999 (two cases) and mid-December 2003 (one case).

H9N2 is not highly pathogenic to birds.

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