China has seen its first human infection with the H3N8 strain of bird flu, but the risk of transmission among humans is low, China’s public health agency said on Tuesday.
A four-year-old boy in central Henan was found to be infected with the variant after developing symptoms including fever on April 5.
No close contacts have contracted the virus, the National Health Commission said in a statement.
It added that the child had been exposed to chickens and crows raised by his family.
H3N8 variants have been detected in horses, dogs, birds and seals in other parts of the world, but no human cases of H3N8 infection have been reported, the NHC said.
Preliminary assessments suggest the variant is not yet effective in infecting humans and the risk of a pandemic is low, the committee said.
Many different strains of avian influenza exist in China, some of which sporadically infect humans, usually those who work with poultry.
Last year, China reported its first human case of H10N3 infection. continue reading
China has a large variety of domestic and wild birds, creating an ideal environment for the mixing and mutation of avian viruses.
Increased surveillance of human avian influenza also means more infections are caught.