Public risk low after combined H3N2, H10N5 death

Updated: Feb 2, 2024 China Daily Print
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China recently reported the death of a 63-year-old woman from Anhui province who died from a mixed infection of H3N2 and H10N5 flu strains, but the case is rare and the likelihood of human-to-human transmission is low, health authorities said.

The woman, from Xuancheng, Anhui, had multiple underlying diseases. She exhibited coughing, sore throat and fever on Nov 30 and was admitted into a local hospital on Dec 2, according to a statement released by the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration on Tuesday.

On Dec 7, she was transferred to a hospital in neighboring Zhejiang province and died nine days later on Dec 16.

Provincial and national disease control carried out genome sequencing on samples and confirmed she was infected with combined strains of H3N2 and H10N5 last week.

None of the case's close contacts in the provinces of Zhejiang and Anhui had shown abnormal conditions during medical observations and their nucleic acid testing results were negative. No other suspected cases were found.

H3N2 is a subtype of the influenza virus and one of three major strains that can cause seasonal flu epidemics across populations. The strain accounts for the majority of flu infections in China this winter, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

H10N5 is of avian origin and cannot infect humans effectively. "The case is an incidental cross-species transmission from poultry to humans. The risk of the virus spreading to humans is low and no human-to-human transmission has occurred," said the administration.

The administration suggested the public avoid sick or dead poultry and try to avoid direct contact with live poultry.

It is also important to pay attention to dietary hygiene and wear masks, and visit a hospital if experiencing fever and other respiratory symptoms.

Animal influenza viruses normally circulate in animals but can also infect humans, according to the World Health Organization.

It said that human infections with avian influenza viruses are usually caused by direct or indirect exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments.

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