China Reports Horrible Spread Of Bird Flu

( In what feels like déjà vu all over again, Beijing’s National Health Commission (NHC) confirmed on June 1st that a man in the eastern province of Jiangsu China is the first human case of H10N3 — a rare strain of bird flu.

Currently there are a number of strains of bird flu in China. However, most strains of avian flu infect only birds. But there have been some strains that sporadically jump from bird to human. In those cases, the infected human is likely to be someone who works with or around poultry.

There is no indication that this particular strain, H10N3, transmits easily among humans.

According to Beijing’s National Health Commission, the 41-year-old resident of Zhenjiang was hospitalized on April 28 but the diagnosis of H10N3 was not made until a month later. However, the health commission would not say how the man was exposed.

After his diagnosis was determined an investigation of his close contacts was conducted to see if any other cases could be found. However, the NHC found none.

The NHC also reported that, other than this one man, there have been no other cases of H10N3 human infection anywhere in the world.

In response to the news, the World Health Organization stated to Reuters that at this time, there is no indication of human-to-human transmission of the H10N3 virus.

Not especially reassuring news given that this is the exact same thing the WHO initially said about COVID-19.

According to Beijing’s NHC H10N3 is “low pathogenic” – namely, it is less severe and unlikely to cause a large-scale outbreak.

Filip Claes, a lab coordinate for the Asia and Pacific office of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases said the H10N3 strain isn’t a very common avian virus. In 2018, only 160 isolates of H10N3 has been reported in the previous forty years. Almost all of those were found among Asian wild birds or waterfowl. Currently no cases have been detected in chickens.

The last significant human outbreak of an avian flu occurred during the 2016-2017 flu season when around 300 people died from the H7N9 strain.