Avian Influenza – China
China has recorded the first human infection with the H3N8 strain of bird flu. A four-year-old boy from central Henan province was found to have been infected with the variant after developing a fever and other symptoms on April 5.
No close contacts were infected with the virus. The child had been in contact with chickens and crows raised at his home.
Photo: H5N1 virus colorized micrograph, viruses are gold colored in MDCK cells (green).
Avian influenza is deadly to most birds, but it can also be deadly to humans and other animals that catch the virus (poultry farming). Since the first human case in 1997, H5N1 has killed nearly 60% of those who have been infected. Unlike human flu, avian flu does not spread easily from person to person.
Avian influenza subtypes H5N8, H5N5, H5N3, and H5N1 are currently circulating mostly in the European continent (for now). The pathogens have been detected in wild birds and these viruses are being distributed wherever wild birds migrate.
Poultry producers are recommended to implement bio-security measures necessary to protect their flocks and humans from exposure and infection.
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