Alert: New Bird Flu Makes the Jump to Humans in China


A virus previously only found in animals has now jumped to humans in China — has the nation learned anything from its deadly COVID-19 blunders?

A confirmed case of H3N8 strain of bird flu has been found in a four-year-old boy from the Henan province, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

China’s National Health Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that the child had previously been around his family’s chickens and crows and began exhibiting signs of illness, such as a fever, on April 5.

This strain of avian flu is common to dogs, horses and even seals, but the commission insists there is no risk of human-to-human transmission.

The boy’s sickness is reportedly caused by a reassortant strain, meaning it’s a virus that has mutated to incorporate genes from other strains found in wild birds and poultry.

“We often see a virus spread to a human and then not spread any further, so a single case is not a cause of great concern,” Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health Sir Peter Horby of Oxford University told the The Guardian.

However, other experts warn that the fact that these cases are on the rise among animals — including in the U.S. — means health officials still need to be vigilant.

“I do generally believe we need to be increasing influence surveillance globally quite concertedly right now,” Alexandra Phelan, Georgetown assistant professor at the center for global health science and security, told the news outlet.

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“Apart from H3N8, we have seen a number of other new spillover events of influenza from poultry to people over recent years, including H5N8 in Russia and H7N9 and H10N3 in China,” she added.

If all of these reassurances sound familiar, perhaps that’s because it’s very much like the narrative in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Just a reminder that there’s no reason to believe China is telling the truth.” Laura Ingraham, host of Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle,” tweeted Wednesday.


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