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First Human Case of H10N3 Bird Flu

  • 03 Jun 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, China has reported the first case of human infection with the H10N3 strain of bird flu in Jiangsu province.

Key Points

  • H10N3 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which is commonly known as the bird flu virus.
  • It is a low pathogenic, or relatively less severe, strain of the virus in poultry and the risk of it spreading on a large scale is very low.
    • Among animals, it can spread through respiratory droplets, similar to flu and Covid-19.
  • The strain is not a very common virus, only about 160 isolates of the virus have been reported in the past 40 years (till 2018), that too, mostly in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and some parts of North America.
    • None had been detected in chickens as of now.
  • There are many different strains of avian influenza in China and some sporadically infect people, generally those working with poultry.
    • However, there have been no significant numbers of human infections with bird flu since the H7N9 strain killed around 300 people during 2016-2017.

Bird Flu

  • About:
    • Bird flu, also known as Avian influenza (AI), is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) as well as pet birds and wild birds.
    • Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.
  • Types of Influenza Viruses:
    • Influenza viruses are grouped into three types; A, B, and C.
    • Only type A is known to infect animals and is zoonotic, meaning it can also infect humans.
      • Avian influenza virus subtypes include A(H5N1), A(H7N9), A(H9N2) and A(H10N3).
    • Type B and C mostly infect humans and typically cause mild disease.
  • Classification:
    • Influenza viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA).
      • For example, a virus that has an HA 7 protein and NA 9 protein is designated as subtype H7N9.
    • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus occurs mainly in birds and is highly contagious among them.
    • HPAI Asian H5N1 is especially deadly for poultry.
  • Impact:
    • Avian Influenza outbreaks can lead to devastating consequences for the country, particularly the poultry industry.
    • Farmers might experience a high level of mortality in their flocks, with rates often around 50%.
  • Prevention:
    • Strict biosecurity measures and good hygiene are essential in protecting against disease outbreaks.
  • Eradication:
    • If the infection is detected in animals, a policy of culling infected and contact animals is normally used in an effort to rapidly contain, control and eradicate the disease.
  • India’s Status:
    • Fresh cases of bird flu were reported in different states of India between December 2020-January 2021 causing alarm across the country.
    • Previously in 2019, India was declared free from Avian Influenza (H5N1), which had also been notified to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
      • The OIE is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It is headquartered in Paris, France.

Source: TH

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