According to Beijing's higher authorities, China has reported the first-ever human case of H3N8, a strain of bird flu. Although the spread of this virus is not that wild, still it has raised concerns in the medical community.
The National Health Commission said in a statement that the variant was tested positive in a four-year-old boy from the Henan province. The boy was complaining about fever and other subsequent symptoms. On further research, it was found out that the child had contact with chickens and cows that were raised at home.
H3N8 is a rare variant that is more common in horses and dogs. Its presence has also been found in some seals. But there hasn’t been a human case reported due to this virus.
China detects first human case of H3N8 bird flu strain https://t.co/tJSXOIhIcz— The Guardian (@guardian) April 27, 2022
Nicola Lewis who is an influenza expert at the Royal Veterinary College in Britain.
Whole-genome sequence analyses indicate that the H3N8 virus in this human case is a reassortant, with genes from viruses that have been detected previously in poultry and wild birds.
China is home to a huge population of both farmed and wild bird species that provide the ideal situations for such avian viruses to spread.
Erik Karlsson, the deputy head of virology said that “We need to be concerned about all spillover events.”
The health commission in an initial study has shown that this strain does not have yet developed the ability to cause human infections. But it is still a red flag that should not be ignored.