WHO confirms China’s first human fatality caused by H3N8 avian influenza

On April 12, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that China had reported its first human fatality caused by the H3N8 strain of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu. The deceased individual was a 55-year-old man from Jiangsu province who had been in contact with live poultry before falling ill.

H3N8 is a type of influenza A virus that typically infects birds, but has been known to spread to other animals and humans. While human cases of H3N8 are rare, they have been reported in the past, with symptoms ranging from mild respiratory illness to more severe respiratory distress and pneumonia.

Following the report of the human fatality, Chinese health authorities took measures to prevent further spread of the virus. This included disinfecting the area where the man had been in contact with live poultry and monitoring individuals who had been in close contact with him.

As of April 12, 2023, the WHO has stated that there is currently no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus, and that the risk of a wider outbreak remains low. However, they emphasize the importance of continued surveillance and preparedness measures to prevent and respond to potential outbreaks of avian influenza.

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