by The Chicago Times Staff

June 1, 2021

JIANGSU — The Chinese government said Tuesday that a man in eastern China has contracted what could be the world’s first human case of the H10N3 strain of bird flu.  Medical officials claim the risk of widespread infection is low.

The 41-year-old man was hospitalized April 28 in Jiangsu Province, northwest of Shanghai, and is in stable condition, according to the National Health Commission’s website.  According to the commission, no human cases of H10N3 have been reported elsewhere.  The infection was caused by an unintentional cross-species transmission, according to the statement.

The news comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives around the world, raising awareness of the threat of emerging diseases.  Unlike coronaviruses, however, global influenza surveillance systems have been monitoring human cases of bird flu since a strain known as H5N1 emerged in Hong Kong’s crowded live-poultry markets in the late 1990s.

In China, between 2012 and 2018, another bird flu strain known as H7N9 infected over 1,500 people through close contact with infected chickens.  Given this history, authorities are not surprised to see human cases of various bird flu strains on a regular basis.