China has recorded the first human infection of the H3N8 strain of the bird flu in Henan Province. According to the details, the variant of the bird flu was found in a four-year-old boy who showed symptoms, including fever, on April 5, the National Health Commission said in a statement.
However, the risk of it spreading among people is low, the health authority said. The H3N8 bird flu variant is common in horses and dogs while some cases have been found in seals as well, but it has never been reported in humans. However, the child had been in contact with chickens and crows raised at his home.
The National Health Commission has confirmed that no close contacts of the child were infected with the H3N8 bird flu strain. The statement added that risk of a large scale epidemic was low as the variant did not yet have the ability to effectively infect humans.
However, it bears mentioning that infections in humans do lead to adaptive mutations that potentially allow these viruses to more easily spread in mammals. Therefore the virus warrants expanded surveillance, said Erik Karlson, the Deputy Head of Virology Unit at the Institute Pasteur in Cambodia. “We need to be concerned about all spillover events,” he added.
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