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What is H10N3 bird flu? How worried should we be after first human transmission

The 41- year-old patient from Zhenjiang city, was diagnosed as having the H10N3 avian influenza virus on May 28, after being hospitalised for a month.

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What is H10N3 bird flu? How worried should we be after first human transmission
China reports the first human case of H10N3 bird flu (Image Source: Reuters)
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China has reported the first-ever case of H10N3 strain of bird flu in a human being. According to China's National Health Commission, a 41-year-old man from the country's eastern Jiangsu province was diagnosed with the H10N3 infection.

The 41- year-old patient from Zhenjiang city, was diagnosed as having the H10N3 avian influenza virus on May 28, after being hospitalised for a month. As per the authorities, the patient’s condition is better now, and he is stable.

The commission also said H10N3 was low pathogenic meaning it did not cause severe diseases in poultry and was unlikely to spread rapidly. The authorities did not give many details on how the patient got infected.

There is currently an outbreak among birds of the H5N8 variant which has led to hundreds of thousands of poultry culled in various European countries. In February, Russia reported the first case of that particular strain in humans.

What is H10N3?

As per Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), it does not lead to severe disease.

The World Health Organisation said the source of the H10N3 virus in the patient is not known.

Since there are no other cases, there was no indication of human-to-human transmission.

The WHO, however, highlighted that there have been rare instances of person-to-person transmission from the H7N9 virus.

As per a report, the H7N9 strain killed 300 people in China in the year 2016-17.

Are we at risk?

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. Experts have described it as sporadic. 

Flu viruses can mutate rapidly and mix with other strains circulating on farms or among migratory birds, known as 'reassortment' - meaning they could make genetic changes that pose a transmission threat to humans.

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