China reports first case of H3N8 Bird Flu in 4-year-old baby boy

According to the commission, the boy was infected directly by birds and the strain was not found to have “the ability to effectively infect humans”. The health body also said that the tests of the boy’s close human contacts found “no abnormalities”.

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H3N8 is known to have been circulating since 2002 after first emerging in North American waterfowl. The virus is known to infect horses, dogs, and seals, but has not been detected in humans till now. (File)

China has reported the first-known human case of the H3N8 strain of avian flu after a four-year-old boy living in central Henan province tested positive for the strain. The boy was hospitalised earlier this month with a fever and other symptoms. According to health officials of the country, there is a low risk of widespread transmission among people.

According to reports, H3N8 is known to have been circulating since 2002 after first emerging in North American waterfowl. The virus is known to infect horses, dogs and seals, but has not been detected in humans till now. On Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission on Tuesday said in a statement that the boy’s family raised chickens at home and lived in an area populated by wild ducks.

According to the commission, the boy was infected directly by birds and the strain was not found to have “the ability to effectively infect humans”. The health body also said that the tests of the boy’s close human contacts found “no abnormalities”. Moreover, the NHC said the boy’s case was a “one-off cross-species transmission, and the risk of large-scale transmission is low”.

Meanwhile, the commission also warned the public to stay away from dead or sick birds and seek immediate treatment for fever or respiratory symptoms.

Avian influenza usually infects wild birds and poultry and cases of transmission between humans are extremely rare. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the H5N1 and H7N9 strains of bird flu, detected in 1997 and 2013, respectively, have been responsible for most cases of human illness from avian influenza.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), human infections of zoonotic, or animal-borne, influenzas are “primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, but do not result in efficient transmission of these viruses between people”.

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