Now Influenza A(H10N8) kills humans too

A fatal case of avian Influenza A(H10N8) has just been reported by Chinese authorities.

Yes, the patient had previous contact with a local live poultry market and yes, the patient was already a very ill elderly woman. But still, it seems that the previously low risk Influenza A(H10N8) is now ready to kill humans too.

It also means that another bird flu strain has managed to cross the species barrier. "It has never been detected in humans before," explained University of Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, one of the world's foremost experts on avian Influenza.

Different subtypes of avian influenza A virus cause sporadic human infections with varied clinical symptoms, such as conjunctivitis (H7N2, H7N3, H7N7, and H10N7), mild respiratory syndrome (H9N2, H7N2, H7N3, H7N7, and H10N7) and severe pneumonia and death (H5N1 and H7N9).

The question therefore was: what changed? Research[1] indicated that it was a novel reassortant avian influenza A H10N8 virus. All the internal genes of JX346 were significantly different from H10 and N8 subtype viruses previously reported. The researchers have decided to name this novel reassortant avian influenza A(H10N8) virus (JX346).

See here for the first news bulletin from China.

[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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