H10N3 bird flu
03/06/2021

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Context:

  • According to Beijing’s National Health Commission (NHC), a 41-year-old man in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu has been confirmed as the first human case of infection with a rare strain of bird flu known as H10N3.

About H10N3 bird flu:

  • H10N3 is a type of bird flu or avian flu. These illnesses are common in wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
  • Infected birds shed avian flu in their saliva, mucus, and poop, and humans can get infected when enough of the virus gets in the eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled from infected droplets or dust.

Is it a cause for concern?

  • Health authorities have played down the outbreak, saying the case was a sporadic virus transmission from poultry to humans, and the risk of causing a pandemic was extremely low.
  • H10N3 is a low pathogenic or relatively less severe strain of the virus in poultry and the risk of it spreading on a large scale is very low.

Prevention:

  • People should avoid contact with sick or dead poultry and avoid direct contact with live birds as much as possible.
  • People must pay attention to food hygiene now.
  • People should wear masks and improve self-protection awareness, while constantly monitoring fever and respiratory symptoms.

Different strains:

  • Several strains of bird flu have been found among animals in China but mass outbreaks in humans are rare.
  • The last human epidemic of bird flu in China occurred in late 2016 to 2017, with the H7N9 virus.
  • H5N8 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus (also known as the bird flu virus). While H5N8 only presents a low risk to humans, it is highly lethal to wild birds and poultry.
  • In April, a highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu was found in wild birds in northeast China’s Shenyang city.

Classification:

  • Influenza viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). For example, a virus that has an HA 7 protein and NA 9 protein is designated as subtype H7N9.
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