A man in eastern China may be the first human to contract the H10N3 strain of bird flu, China’s National Health Commission said Tuesday.
The 41-year-old man from Zhenjiang was admitted to a hospital with a fever and other symptoms on April 28, according to Reuters but he was not diagnosed with H10N3 for another month. The man is expected to be released from the hospital soon.
Officials said no other infections were detected among close contacts. The NHC did not say how it believes the man was infected, calling it an “accident,” that the risk of a massive outbreak is “very low,” and that there are no other human cases of H10N3 reported elsewhere in the world.
Avian influenza virus typically causes no more than mild disease in birds, but in humans it can be deadly. According to the World Health Organization, the case-fatality rate of H7N9 — the last human epidemic of bird flu that occurred in China in late 2016 to 2017 — was roughly 30 percent.
“At this time, there is no indication of human-to-human transmission,” the WHO told Reuters. “As long as avian influenza viruses circulate in poultry, sporadic infection of avian influenza in humans is not surprising, which is a vivid reminder that the threat of an influenza pandemic is persistent.”