NewsDesk @bactiman63

Chinese health officials are reporting one human case of H3N8 avian influenza. According to the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (computer translated):

Image/Robert Herriman

One case of H3N8 was reported in Zhongshan City. The case was a 56-year-old female with multiple myeloma and other basic medical history. She had a history of exposure to live poultry before the onset of the disease, and a history of wild bird activities around her home. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention checked and tested the case specimens, and the result was positive for H3N8 avian influenza virus nucleic acid.

Our center has guided Zhongshan City to carry out epidemiological investigations, close contact tracking management, investigation of epidemic-related places, on-site elimination and other epidemic disposal work in accordance with relevant plans. No abnormalities have been found in close contacts so far. Experts believe that this case is a sporadic case, and the risk of virus transmission is low at this stage. Experts suggest that the public should try to avoid direct contact with live poultry and dead poultry in daily life; take personal protection, pay attention to food hygiene, separate raw and cooked meat, and cook meat thoroughly before eating; once you find fever, cough, throat. People with respiratory symptoms such as pain should wear a mask and seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If they have been in contact with birds before the illness, they should take the initiative to tell the doctor. Farmer’s markets at all levels and types should abide by the “Guangdong Provincial Poultry Management Measures” and implement measures such as market poultry management and sanitation.

The World Health Organization says influenza type A viruses are classified into subtypes according to different virus surface proteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). So far, there are 18 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 11 different neuraminidase subtypes, with only a few of these subtypes circulating in humans (seasonal influenza). Depending on the origin host, influenza A viruses can also be classified as avian influenza, swine influenza, human influenza, etc., or other types of animal influenza viruses. When animal influenza viruses infect humans, these are called zoonotic infections.

Zoonotic influenza type A infections may cause diseases ranging from mild upper respiratory infection (fever and cough) to rapid progression to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, shock, and even death.

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In terms of transmission, human infections with avian and other zoonotic influenza viruses, though rare, have been reported. Human infections are primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments but do not result in the efficient transmission of these viruses between people. The primary risk factor for human infection appears to be direct or indirect exposure to infected animals or contaminated environments, such as live bird markets. Slaughtering, defeathering, handling carcasses of infected poultry, and preparing poultry for consumption are also likely to be risk factors.

Avian A(H3N8) influenza viruses are commonly detected globally in animals and represent one of the most frequently found subtypes in wild birds, causing minimal to no sign of disease in domestic poultry or wild birds. Cross-species transmission events of avian A(H3N8) influenza viruses have been reported for various mammal species, for example, equine and canine lineage of A(H3N8) viruses cause outbreaks in horses and dogs respectively.