First human death linked to H3N8 avian flu recorded in China

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The first death linked to the H3N8 avian flu has been recorded in China, the World Health Organization revealed on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. This is the first human virus victim whose risk of spreading nationally or internationally is “low.”

A woman has died in China from the H3N8 avian flu. This virus has been circulating since 2002 and has had no known human victims, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in a communication.

The H3N8 virus, which first appeared on the North American continent, was until now considered capable of being transmitted to horses, dogs, and sea lions.

Detected in humans in 2022

It was not detected in humans until the first two non-fatal cases in China in April and May 2022.

The deceased is a 56-year-old resident of Guangdong Province in southeast China.

She fell ill on February 22, was hospitalized with severe pneumonia on March 3, and died on March 16, according to the WHO.

“The patient had multiple predispositions. She had a history of exposure to live poultry before the onset of illness, and a history of presence of wild birds around her home,” the organization said in a statement.

“None of the close contacts of this case had developed an infection or symptoms of the disease at the time of writing this report,” the WHO said.

The risk of spread at the national level is “low.”

Visiting a live bird market could have caused this contamination, but “the exact source of this infection remains to be determined, as well as the link between this virus and the other type A (H3N8) avian influenzas circulating in the environment. animal,” the WHO said, calling for research on the issue.

The organization stressed that the available data showed that this virus is not transmitted between humans and that “the risk of its spread at the national, regional and global level is considered to be low.”

The WHO, however, stressed the need for constant monitoring due to the permanent mutations of the viruses.