New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Almost 3 years after the first COVID-19 case was detected in Wuhan, China on Tuesday confirmed the first known human case of the H3N8 strain of bird flu in the country's Henan province. China's National Health Commission (NHC) announced the development in a statement but said that there is a low risk of widespread transmission among people.

China's National Health Commission on Tuesday said a four-year-old boy living in central Henan province tested positive for the strain after being hospitalised earlier this month with a fever and other symptoms. The boy's family raised chickens at home and lived in an area populated by wild ducks, the NHC said in a statement.

The boy was infected directly by birds and the strain was not found to have "the ability to effectively infect humans", the commission said. It added that tests of the boy's close human contacts found "no abnormalities". The NHC said the boy's case was a "one-off cross-species transmission, and the risk of large-scale transmission is low".

It warned the public to nevertheless stay away from dead or sick birds and seek immediate treatment for fever or respiratory symptoms. Avian influenza occurs mainly in wild birds and poultry. Cases of transmission between humans are extremely rare.

What is Bird Flu?

Bird flu or Avian Influenza is a condition caused by infection with Avian (bird) Influenza (flu) Type A viruses which are generally observed among wild aquatic birds. It can also infect domestic poultry, other birds, and animals. Though Avian Flu viruses do not usually infect human beings and such an infection is rare, it is important to take precautions to prevent the spread among humans.

How dangerous it is?

The health commission said the H3N8 variant has previously been detected elsewhere in the world in horses, dogs, birds and seals. However, added that no human cases of H3N8 have been reported. An initial assessment determined the variant did not yet have the ability to effectively infect humans, and the risk of a large-scale epidemic was low, it added.

The H5N1 and H7N9 strains of bird flu, detected in 1997 and 2013, respectively, have been responsible for most cases of human illness from avian influenza, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

Human infections of zoonotic, or animal-borne, influenzas are "primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, but do not result in efficient transmission of these viruses between people", according to the World Health Organisation. In 2012, H3N8 was blamed for the deaths of more than 160 seals off the northeastern coast of the United States after it caused deadly pneumonia in the animals.

Common symptoms of Bird Flu in humans:

Cough

Fever

Sore throat

Muscle aches

Headache

Shortness of breath

Symptoms of severe bird flu:

Pneumonia

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis)

Respiratory failure

Kidney dysfunction

Heart problems

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan