WHO says that H3N8 bird flu has killed the first person in China.
BEIJING: A Chinese woman is the first person to die from a type of bird flu that rarely affects humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the strain does not seem to spread from person to person.
The WHO said in a statement late Tuesday that the 56-year-old woman from the southern province of Guangdong was the third person known to have been sick with the H3N8 subtype of avian influenza.
All of the cases have been in China. The first two cases were reported last year.
Late last month, the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that there was a third case of infection, but they didn’t say anything about how the woman died.
The WHO said that the patient had a number of underlying conditions and had been around live chickens in the past.
People are often infected with bird flu in China, where avian flu viruses are always moving through the large numbers of poultry and wild birds.
The WHO said that samples taken from a wet market that the woman went to before she got sick were positive for influenza A(H3). This suggests that this may have been where she got sick.
Even though H3N8 is uncommon in people, it is common in birds, where it causes few or no signs of illness. It has spread to other animals as well.
The WHO said there were no other cases found among the close friends and family of the woman who got sick.
“From what we know so far, it doesn’t look like this virus can spread easily from person to person. As a result, we think the risk of it spreading among humans at the national, regional, and international levels is low,” the WHO said in a statement.
People think it’s important to keep an eye on all bird flu viruses because they can change and cause a pandemic.