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First Human Death Caused By H3N8 Bird Flu Reported In China

This is just the third ever reported human case.

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Jack Dunhill

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Jack Dunhill

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

Jack is a Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer for IFLScience, with a degree in Medical Genetics specializing in Immunology.

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

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Bird flu has spread among animals in multiple nations, but rarely jumps to humans. Image credit: Gloszilla Studio/Shutterstock.com

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the first human death from H3N8 avian flu in China. It has been circulating the area since 2002 and regularly infects birds, horses, and dogs, but rarely infects humans.  

Just two human cases have been recorded, in April and May of last year, with both being non-fatal and located in China, but now a 56-year-old woman has recently passed away as a result of infection.  

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The WHO said the woman experienced symptoms on February 22nd and was hospitalized with severe pneumonia on March 3rd, before dying on March 16th.  

“The case was detected through the severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) surveillance system” said the WHO in a statement

“The patient had multiple underlying conditions. She had a history of exposure to live poultry before the onset of the disease, and a history of wild bird presence around her home. No close contacts of the case developed an infection or symptoms of illness at the time of reporting.” 

H3N8 is still suspected to be low-risk and it is not thought that the infection was passed from another human, though the WHO urges continued caution and continued efforts to contain it as a potential emerging disease. Experts advise people should avoid contact with high-risk environments, such as farms and surfaces contaminated with bird feces, and practice good hand hygiene. 


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healthHealth and Medicine
  • tag
  • viral infection,

  • infectious disease,

  • bird flu,

  • avian flu,

  • flu virus

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