China reports first human case of H3N8 avian flu

A 4-year-old boy in central China has been infected with H3N8 bird flu, making it the first time the virus has been confirmed in humans. Scientists believe an ancient strain of the virus – which is also found in horses and dogs – was responsible for the 1889 pandemic.

The boy, from Zhumadian city in Henan province, developed fever and other symptoms on April 5 and was hospitalized on April 10 when his condition worsened, China’s National Health Commission said. Health (NHC) in a statement.

“On the 24th, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention tested the patient’s sample sent from Henan Province and the result was positive for the H3N8 avian influenza virus,” the NHC said in a statement. the press release.

The child had been in contact with chickens and crows raised at his home in Zhumadian, a city about 245 kilometers (153 miles) north of Wuhan, or 715 kilometers (445 miles) northwest of Shanghai.

H3N8 is found in birds, but also in horses and is one of the two viruses that cause canine flu. It had never been confirmed in humans, although researchers believe a previous strain caused the 1889 pandemic, known as the “Asian flu” and “Russian flu”.

“Experts’ preliminary assessment is that the H3N8 avian influenza virus is of avian origin and does not yet have the ability to effectively infect humans,” the NHC said in the statement. “This is a case of accidental transmission between species from birds to humans and the risk of large-scale transmission is low.”

Close contacts of the child tested negative for the virus, the health commission said. He urged people to avoid contact with poultry, especially sick and dead poultry.

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