WHO Reports First Human Death From Rare Bird Flu Subtype H3N8 in China

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the first death of a human from H3N8 bird flu, a rare strain of avian influenza. The 56-year-old woman from Guangdong, China, had a history of exposure to live poultry and had multiple underlying conditions. Two other cases of H3N8 infection were reported in China last year, but there has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Sporadic infections in humans with bird flu are common in China due to the circulation of avian flu viruses in poultry and wild bird populations. Although H3N8 is common in birds, it causes little to no signs of disease in them, but has been known to infect other mammals.

The WHO confirmed that the virus does not have the ability to spread easily from person to person, hence the risk of it spreading among humans at the national, regional, and international levels is considered to be low. However, monitoring of all avian influenza viruses is essential as they can evolve and cause a pandemic. The recent death highlights the importance of proper measures to control the spread of avian flu in bird populations, including regular testing and monitoring of poultry farms and markets. Given the potential risk of bird flu viruses mutating and causing a pandemic, it is critical for governments to take necessary measures to ensure public health and safety.

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