China on Tuesday reported the world’s first human case of H10N3 avian influenza, a disease usually found in birds, but authorities say the risk of an epidemic is “extremely weak“.
The 41-year-old patient, from eastern Zhenjiang City, was hospitalized on April 28 with a fever. Doctors concluded a month later that he had the disease, the health ministry said.
“The risk of large-scale dissemination (in humans) is extremely low“, he underlined in a press release, specifying that the patient could a priori soon be released from the hospital.
Jiangsu provincial health authorities have tested all contact cases and have not detected anyone with the virus so far. No details were provided on the circumstances of its contamination.
The Department of Health indicated that H10N3 did not “not the ability to infect humans“and is anyway”low pathogenic“in birds – that is, unlikely to cause disease. No other human case of H10N3 has been reported elsewhere in the world so far, according to the ministerial statement.
Thousands of deaths from other strains
Several strains of the virus causing avian influenza have been found in animals in China, but massive epidemics among humans are rare.
Two other strains of avian influenza, H5N1 (between 2003 and 2011), then H7N9 (since 2013), have given rise in Asia to contamination through direct contact with infected poultry. But cases of human-to-human transmission remain very rare.
H7N9 has infected 1,668 people and killed 616 people since 2013, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 was detected for the first time at the end of 2019 in the city of Wuhan (central China).
France has been affected since last winter by a strain of avian influenza H5N8 which resulted in the slaughter of millions of poultry, mainly ducks.