Published: 02nd June 2021
What the FAQ: What is the H10N3 Bird Flu? First human case of avian flu reported in China
Can the H10N3 Bird Flu become an outbreak? Is it worrisome? We try to answer all these questions in today's What the FAQ
A 41-year-old man in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu was confirmed as the first human case of infection with a rare strain of bird flu known as H10N3, Beijing’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Tuesday. People all over the world have been panicking since then as we are already going through the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the NHC and WHO have specified that H10N3 is a low-grade pathogen, which means it causes relatively less severe disease in poultry and is unlikely to cause a large-scale outbreak.
Here we explain what this strain of the avian flu is, how is it caused, what are the symptoms and more.
What is H10N3?
H10N3 is a type of bird flu or avian flu. These illnesses are common in wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They don’t normally infect humans, but the CDC has said that these crossover infections do happen. Infected birds shed avian flu in their saliva, mucus, and excreta, and humans can get infected when enough of the virus gets in the eyes, nose, or mouth, or when it is inhaled from infected droplets or dust.
What are the symptoms of H10N3?
Details about H10N3 are scarce at the moment, however, bird flu symptoms are usually the same as the regular flu. The CDC lists these as possible symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Altered mental status
What is the treatment?
Bird flu is usually treated the same way as the regular flu, experts have said. That means using an antiviral medication like oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir, or zanamivir. If any type of bird flu happened to start spreading among people, a few doctors have said that scientists “would be able to make a vaccine pretty quickly” by modifying an existing flu vaccine, but it might not be absolute.
Has bird flu affected humans before this?
Although there are several types of bird flu, H5N1 was the first avian influenza virus to infect humans. The first infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was linked to handling infected poultry. H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can also spread easily to domestic poultry.
Have humans been affected in India by the Bird Flu?
In India, no case of bird flu in humans has been detected so far, according to the Union health ministry. The department of animal husbandry has reported 25 episodes of H5N1 bird flu in poultry in 15 states from 2006 (when the first outbreak occurred in Maharashtra and Gujarat) till 2015.