China reports first H10N8 avian flu death

The death of a 73 year old woman infected with a strain of avian flu, H10N8, that is rarely seen in humans was reported in China earlier this month. This was the first report of a human fatality from the H10N8 virus.The woman, whose immune system was compromised, had an underlying illness, and had visited a live-poultry market. She was admitted to a local hospital on Nov. 30 with severe pneumonia, and died Dec. 6. This is not the first human case of the H10 subtype, as the virus has jumped from birds to humans before. In 2010, two Australians workers processing abattoir tested positive for a subtype of H10 infection, but they only had minor symptoms. Furthermore, the H10N8 strain has been detected in Chinese birds.

This is the second new bird flu strain to emerge in humans this year in China. In late March, the H7N9 bird flu virus broke out. WHO officials were working closely with Chinese authorities to better understand the new avian flu virus. While the source remains unknown, birds are known to carry it, and it would not be surprising if another human case was detected.

About Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown serves as a Senior Program Analyst for Environmental Health, Pandemic Response, and Catastrophic Preparedness at NACCHO. Her work includes climate change preparedness, medical countermeasure planning and implementation efforts, and exploring the legal issues surrounding radiation preparedness.Twitter: @LisaBrownMPH

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