China Confirms First Human Infection of H10N3 Bird Flu

The country's health officials say the risk of widespread transmission among people is 'extremely' unlikely.
Derya Ozdemir

China's National Health Commission (NHC) confirmed the first case of human infection with the H10N3 strain, a subtype of the Influenza A virus (also known as the bird flu virus), from the country's eastern Jiangsu province on Tuesday in an online statement, following the hospitalization of a 41-year-old male on April 28 after developing a fever and other symptoms, Reuters reports.

The NHC statement did not specify how the man became infected with the virus, but stated the patient's condition was stable and ready to be discharged from the hospital. 

Contact tracing and medical examination of his close acquaintances revealed no other cases.

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A widespread transmission is "extremely" unlikely, according to the country's health officials, as the H10N3 virus in poultry is a low pathogenic strain of the virus.

Different strains of the bird flu can be found in China, but they mainly affect those who work with poultry on a regular basis and large-scale epidemics in people remain uncommon. Human infections have been generally low, with one of the worst instances of bird flu in China being the H7N9 strain killing around 300 individuals between 2016 and 2017.

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There have been no other cases of H10N3 infection in humans recorded elsewhere globally. Experts say studying the virus's genetic material is required to determine if it resembles the previous viruses or whether it is a unique mix of other viruses. 

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