First case of H3N8 avian flu detected in humans

While it usually only infects horses, dogs and seals, the H3N8 strain of bird flu has been detected for the first time in a human, Chinese health authorities said on Tuesday. He is a four-year-old boy, living in Henan province (in the center). He tested positive after being hospitalized in early April with a fever and other symptoms.

The patient’s family raises chickens and lives in an area populated by wild ducks. The boy was infected directly by the birds, the health ministry said, adding that tests carried out on people close to the patient revealed “no abnormalities”.

Do not approach dead or sick birds

Still according to the ministry, the case of the boy results from a “punctual inter-species transmission” and “the risk of large-scale transmission is low”. He nevertheless called not to approach dead or sick birds and to consult in case of fever or respiratory symptoms.

Cases of bird flu transmission between humans are extremely rare. The H5N1 and H7N9 strains, detected in 1997 and 2013 respectively, were the main cause of human cases of bird flu, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to an American study published in 2012, the H3N8 strain would have caused fatal pneumonia in more than 160 seals along the American coasts the previous year.

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