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China records first H3N8 bird flu death I Should India need to worry?

Notably, the virus was first traced in North American waterfowl in 2002. It is known to infect horses, dogs and seals.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Beijing Updated on: April 12, 2023 9:14 IST
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Image Source : AP Representational Image

Bird flu: China has registered its first human death due to H3N8 bird flu, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday. According to WHO, a 56-year-old from Guangdong province in southeast China has died from the avian influenza strain.

Notably, the virus was first traced in North American waterfowl in 2002. It is known to infect horses, dogs and seals.

As per a report by The Guardian, it had not been detected in humans before two non-fatal cases emerged – both also in China – in April and May last year.

"The patient had multiple underlying conditions. She had a history of exposure to live poultry before the onset of the disease, and a history of wild bird presence around her home," WHO said in a statement on Tuesday.

"No close contacts of the case developed an infection or symptoms of illness at the time of reporting," it added.

WHO to investigate the origin of the virus 

As the woman had multiple health issues, the UN health agency said it is still investigating what led to her death. The woman might be infected with the virus as she was living near a poultry market.

"It is still unclear what the exact source of this infection is and how this virus is related to other avian influenza A(H3N8) viruses that are circulating in animals,” the WHO said. In a statement, the WHO called for further animal and human investigations.

Should India worry and how to protect yourself against avian influenza?

As of now, there is no risk of bird flu in India but the experts suggest the best way for people to stay safe from the virus is to avoid handling birds, especially if they don't work with them. The risk of catching the virus is still low, but it's better to be cautious.

For people who work on poultry farms or have chickens or hens in their backyard, Pebody recommends wearing personal protective equipment when handling the animals to prevent getting infected.

Also Read: As Bird flu cases rise, will it turn into the next pandemic like Covid?

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