China has confirmed the first case of bird flu type H3N8 in humans, Tuesday (26/4). The risk of transmitting this virus is said to be low.
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported that a 4-year-old boy living in Henan Province tested positive for H3N8 after being hospitalized in early April. One of the symptoms that affect the child is fever.
The NHC further explained that the boy’s family kept chickens at home and lived in an area inhabited by wild ducks.
The boy, continued the NHC, was infected directly from the bird. However, they stated that the strain did not have the ability to effectively infect humans, meaning the risk of transmission was low.
“[Kasus bocah itu merupakan] one-time cross-species transmission, and the risk of large-scale transmission is low,” the NHC said AFP.
According to test results from people who were in close contact with the child, no signs of abnormality were found.
The NHC then warned the public to keep their distance from dead or sick birds. In addition, they urge residents to seek treatment immediately if they experience fever or respiratory symptoms.
Bird flu infects wild and domestic poultry. Cases of human-to-human transmission are very rare.
According to the World Health Organization, human infection from zoonotic or animal-borne influenza is acquired through direct contact with exposed animals or a contaminated environment.
This disease has various variants. The H5N1 strain was detected in 1997, while H7N9 was detected in 2013. Both contribute to the majority of avian influenza in humans.
Meanwhile, H3N8 has been circulating since 2002, and first infected waterfowl in North America. This strain infects horses, dogs and seals, but has never been detected in humans.
In 2018, the virus caused the deaths of more than 160 seals off the northeast coast of the United States.