A 41 year-old man from Jiangsu, China was confirmed to be the first human to be infected with the H10N3 strain of bird flu by the China’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Tuesday (1 June).
The man was hospitalised on 28 April after developing a fever and other symptoms. However, it is unclear how the infection happened, but fortunately, his condition is stable now and he is ready to be discharged.
NHC had explained that the H10N3 avian influenza virus is a low pathogenic, or relatively less severe, strain of the virus in poultry and the risk of it spreading on a large scale was very low.
Meanwhile, NHC said that there were different strains of avian influenza present in China and some sporadically infect people, however, those infected were usually those who work in the poultry industry.
In addition, NHC identified the man’s close contacts and noted that there were no other cases of H10N3 in the circle, as reported by Reuters. There were no other cases of human infection with H10N3 have been reported globally too.
Responding to the matter, the World Health Organisation (WHO) told Reuters, “The source of the patient’s exposure to the H10N3 virus is not known at this time, and no other cases were found in emergency surveillance among the local population. At this time, there is no indication of human-to-human transmission.”
“As long as avian influenza viruses circulate in poultry, sporadic infection of avian influenza in humans is not surprising, which is a vivid reminder that the threat of an influenza pandemic is persistent,” the WHO added.
On the other hand, the last major outbreak of bird flu in China was the H7N9 strain that killed around 300 people during 2016 to 2017.
Many may worry that this could be another large scale transmission happening, after the world experienced Covid-19. Nonetheless, the current data shows that there were no human-to-human transmission.