China has recorded the first human infection with the H3N8 strain of bird flu, the country’s health authority said on Tuesday. A four-year-old boy from central Henan province tested positive for the variant after developing a fever and other symptoms on April 5.
The child had been in contact with chickens and crows raised at his home, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement.
According to the NHC, the H3N8 strain of bird flu had been detected in horses, dogs, birds and seals, but not yet in humans. Many different strains of bird flu are present in China, and some have killed humans, usually people who work on animal farms.
China has huge populations of farmed birds, creating an ideal environment for viruses to mix and mutate. “We have to realize that the intensive way of raising animals, with a huge number of animals huddled together in one spot, is no longer sustainable for many reasons,” Dutch virologist Thijs Kuiken said.
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