China announced the world’s first human transmission of the H10N3 avian influenza virus to humans on Tuesday, but said the risk of spreading the disease to humans was low.
A 41-year-old man was hospitalized with fever symptoms in eastern Zhengjiang City on April 28 and was diagnosed with H10N3 a month later. This comes from an online statement from China’s National Health Commission (NHC).
“The risk of spreading is very small,” said the NHC, adding that the man was in stable condition and his close contact had not reported any “anomalies”.
He described H10N3 as not pathogenic – less likely to cause death or serious illness – in birds. The NHC says there have been no previously reported human cases of H10N3 in the world.
Several strains of avian flu have been found in animals in China, but mass outbreaks in humans are rare. The last human bird flu epidemic in China occurred in late 2016 to 2017 with the H7N9 virus.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, H7N9 has infected 1,668 people and claimed 616 lives since 2013.
Following recent bird flu outbreaks in Africa and Eurasia, the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention last week called for stricter surveillance of poultry farms, markets and wild birds.
Covid-19 first opened on a food and animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.