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China detects first human case of H3N8 bird flu

Autoridade sanitária advertiu cidadãos a permanecerem longe de aves mortas ou doentes e a buscarem tratamento imediato em caso de sintomas respiratórios ou febre

Health authority warned citizens to stay away from dead or sick birds and to seek immediate treatment in case of respiratory symptoms or fever| Photo: EFE/EPA/MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN

27094208 China has confirmed the first human case of H3N8 avian influenza, but the health authority says the risk of transmission of the disease between people is low. In circulation since 2002, the strain was initially detected in North American waterfowl and has recorded cases of infection in horses, dogs and seals.

According to the CNS (National Health Commission ) from China, a four-year-old boy from central Henan province tested positive for the variant after being hospitalized with fever and other symptoms on April 5. The statement, released on Tuesday (), adds that the patient had contact with chickens and crows raised by the family.

Tests carried out on people close to the child did not detect “anomalies”, according to the CNS. The commission stressed that the boy’s infection occurred directly from the birds and that “the risk of large-scale transmission is small.” Still, the health authority warned citizens to stay away from dead or sick birds and to seek immediate treatment in case of respiratory symptoms or fever.

Large Chinese bird populations farmed and wild are the ideal scenario for mutations of avian viruses.People who work with these animals or live in nearby regions are often the most exposed to infections.

Last year, China reported the first human case of H10N3 The US Centers for Disease Control points out that the H5N1 and H7N9 strains of avian influenza, detected in 1979 and 2002, were responsible for most human cases of avian influenza. In 2012, H3N8 killed more than 10 seals in the USA, after causing pneumonia in the animals.

Deputy head of the virology unit at the Pasteur Institute, Cambodia , Erik Karlsson told Reuters that the virus “requires heightened surveillance”. That’s because, even though they are quite rare, human infections can lead to adaptive mutations, with the potential for the virus to spread more easily among mammals. “We need to be concerned about all overflow events,” he warned.

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