Beijing: China has confirmed the first known human case of the H3N8 strain of avian flu, but health officials say there is a low risk of widespread transmission between people.
H3N8 has been known to be circulating since 2002, having first emerged in North American waterfowl. It is known to infect horses, dogs and seals, but has not previously been detected in humans.
China’s National Health Commission said a four-year-old boy living in central Henan province tested positive for the strain earlier this month after being hospitalized with fever and other symptoms.
The boy’s family raised chickens at home and lived in an area populated by wild ducks, the NHC said in a statement.
The commission said the boy was directly infected with birds and that the strain was not found to have “the ability to effectively infect humans”. It said testing of close human contacts of the boy found “no abnormalities”.
The NHC said the boy’s case was “one-way cross-species transmission and the risk of mass transmission is low.”
It still warned the public to stay away from dead or sick birds and to seek immediate treatment for fever or respiratory symptoms.
Avian influenza mainly occurs in wild birds and poultry. Cases of transmission between humans are extremely rare.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the H5N1 and H7N9 strains of bird flu, detected in 1997 and 2013, respectively, are responsible for most cases of human illness from avian influenza.
According to the World Health Organization, human infections of zoonotic, or animal-borne, influenza “are acquired primarily through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, but do not result in efficient transmission of these viruses between people.” “.
In 2012, H3N8 was blamed for the deaths of more than 160 seals off the northeastern coast of the United States, as it caused fatal pneumonia in animals.
first published:April 27, 2022, 9:55 a.m.