China reports third case of Influenza A(H10N8)

News of a third case of Influenza A(H10N8) has scientists worrying even more.

One case can be explained away by arguing that the patient was elderly with a myriads of health problems and had visited a market which featured chicken or ducks. A second case would surely raise some eyebrows in the scientific community but a third case means that a new Influenza virus force to be vigilant about.

Reports suggest that of the three patients infected with Influenza A(H10N8) two have died.
The novel Influenza A(H10N8) virus is distinct from previously reported H10N8 viruses[1]. Its hemagglutinin (H) protein was most closely related to that of a 2012 H10N3 duck isolate from Hunan province and that the neuraminidase (N) protein was most closely related to that of an H10N8 virus from a mallard in Korea. Which means that this virus has reassorted itself to a novel strain. The authors say the findings suggest that Influenza A(H10N8) virus might have originated from multiple reassortments between different avian flu viruses.

"The pandemic potential of this novel virus should not be underestimated," the authors warn. I can certainly agree with that.

[1] Chen et al: Clinical and epidemiological characteristics of a fatal case of avian influenza A H10N8 virus infection: a descriptive study in The Lancet - 2014

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