China Sees First Human Case of Rare Bird Flu Strain

China's National Health Commission confirmed the first case of a rare strain of bird flu called H10N3, also deeming it to be a low pathogenic variant.


Image via Getty/Jamie McDonald


A man in China has tested positive for a rare variant of the bird flu called H10N3.

NBC News reports that people can catch the virus from poultry, with cases popping up intermittently in those who work with the domesticated birds. The 41-year-old from the province of Jiangsu is the first person to catch the strain, according to China’s National Health Commission.

The man was hospitalized on April 18, diagnosed on May 28, and is now healthy and ready to leave the hospital. His family and friends didn’t catch the virus, and no cases have emerged on a global scale. This helps to suggest that H10N3 doesn’t transmit freely to humans, though it’s unknown how the man became ill.

The variant is “not a very common virus,” Filip Claes, regional laboratory coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases at the regional office for Asia and the Pacific, told NBC.

The NHC has deemed H10N3 to be low pathogenic, meaning it isn’t a serious disease for poultry and will probably not lead to an outbreak. The last time the world saw humans widely infected with bird flu was in 2016 and 2017, when the H7N9 strain killed about 300 people.

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