China confirms first human case of bird flu strain

Source: China confirms first human case of bird flu strain | Newsday (News)

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

CHINA has confirmed the first human case of a rare strain of bird flu known as H10N3, but local experts say there is no need for panic despite the high number of Chinese nationals resident in Zimbabwe.

The Beijing’s National Health Commissions (NHC) on Tuesday revealed that a 41-year-old man from Jiangsu province had been confirmed as the first human case infected with the avian virus.

NHC said the man, a resident of the city of Zhenjiang, was hospitalised on April 28 and diagnosed with H10N3 on May 28, but did not give details on how the man was infected.

Local health experts yesterday urged citizens not to panic, saying the strain was not very virulent and deadly like the COVID-19 strain.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said: “It’s an avian virus that’s usually spreads among birds like chickens. It’s a low virulent virus of course, but it’s not very frightening. Yes, because we eat chickens it has the potential to spread, but on rare occasions unless it’s something different. We should not worry at all because it’s less virulent than COVID-19. If well contained, it’s a strain that we can actually keep in check.”

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive Solwayo Ngwenya said: “The strain is not fast spreading. It’s the first case being found moving from a bird to a human being. There hasn’t been any human-to-human transmission unlike COVID-19. It’s different at this stage, we don’t know whether it will change its form and start spreading like COVID-19.”

There have been no significant numbers of human infections with bird flu since the H7N9 strain killed around 300 people between 2016 and 2017.

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