China Reports First Confirmed Human Case Of H3N8 Strain Of Bird Flu

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Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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China reported the first confirmed human case of the H3N8 strain of bird flu Tuesday, a strain which is believed to have caused epidemics in the past.

A four-year-old boy in Henan province came down with a fever and other symptoms on April 5, China’s National Health Commission reported. The child had been around crows and chickens raised in his home. The H3N8 influenza variant is also commonly carried by horses and dogs.

An initial study of the virus led Chinese officials to believe it cannot easily spread between humans. None of the close contacts of the boy were infected, the commission said. However, experts say more surveillance is required, as any spillover event from animal to human can result in mutations that make a virus more transmissible, according to Reuters.

Some believe that H3N8 may have been responsible for the Asiatic Flu pandemic between 1889-1890, which killed about one million people after originating in the Russian Empire. H3N8 has also been linked to another epidemic which occurred from 1898-1900, although it is impossible at this point to definitively tie the strain to either outbreak. (RELATED: Cracks Forming In Xi’s Armor In The Wake Of China’s Disastrous Lockdown Strategy)

China is the source of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Chinese Communist Party officials were widely criticized in 2020 for not reporting on the outbreak of COVID-19 and its consequences quickly enough.