China has reported the first case of human infection with the H10N3 strain of bird flu from the country’s eastern Jiangsu province, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Tuesday.
The patient, a 41-year-old man in Zhenjiang city, developed fever and other symptoms on April 23 and was hospitalised on April 28, Xinhua news agency quoted the NHC as saying.
He was diagnosed as having the H10N3 avian influenza virus on May 28, it said, but did not give details on how the man had been infected with the virus.
The man was stable and ready to be discharged from hospital. All close contacts of the patient in Jiangsu have been placed under medical observation and emergency monitoring has been initiated, said the NHC, adding that nothing abnormal has been detected.
What is H10N3?
H10N3 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, the NHC added.
There are many different strains of avian influenza in China and some sporadically infect people, generally those working with poultry.
The strain is “not a very common virus,” said Filip Claes, regional laboratory coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases at the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
Only around 160 isolates of the virus were reported in the 40 years to 2018, mostly in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and some limited parts of North America, and none had been detected in chickens so far, he added.
Analysing the genetic data of the virus will be necessary to determine whether it resembles older viruses or if it is a novel mix of different viruses, Claes said.
Many different strains of avian influenza are present in China and some sporadically infect people, usually those working with poultry. There have been no significant numbers of human infections with bird flu since the H7N9 strain killed around 300 people during 2016-2017.
No other cases of human infection with H10N3 have previously been reported globally, the NHC said.
(With agency inputs)