First human case of H10N3 bird flu discovered in China

Will wildlife wet markets in China open again?
Wet market in China, 2016 © Kelly Guerin / We Animals

A 41-year-old man in China has been infected with the H10N3 strain of bird flu, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Tuesday. It’s the first human case of H10N3 bird flu.

The man, a resident of the city of Zhenjiang, was hospitalized on April 28 after developing a fever and other symptoms, the NHC said in a statement. A month later, he was diagnosed with H10N3 avian flu.

The NHC did not give details on how the man got infected with the virus.

Many different strains of bird flu are present in China, and some can infect people, usually those working in direct contact with chickens, ducks, turkeys and other birds at farms or markets.

So far, the H7N9 strain of bird flu has infected 1,668 people and killed 616, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

In February, Russia detected the highly contagious H5N8 strain of bird flu in humans who worked at a farm. The H5N8 strain had never before been reported to have spread to humans.

The head of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention called for stricter surveillance in farms, markets and wild birds.

A series of outbreaks of bird flu have been reported in Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and North Africa in recent months. Governments are mass killing animals whenever outbreaks are detected as a solution.

Animal rights organizations have long advised reconsidering the whole farm industry to prevent animal diseases from jumping to humans.

After being infected with H10N3, the man is now stable and ready to be released from the hospital, the NHC said.

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