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China reports first human infection of H3N8 bird flu strain

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China’s health authority said Tuesday that it recorded its first human infection with the H3N8 strain of avian influenza. 

In a statement, the National Health Commission (NHC) said the variant was found in a 4-year-old boy from Henan province. 

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The boy, who lives in the city of Zhumadian, had raised chickens and crows at home. 

He showed fever and other symptoms on April 5. according to the NHC, and was admitted to a local medical institution for further treatment five days later.

FILE PHOTO: Workers vaccinate chicks with the H9 bird flu vaccine at a farm in Changfeng county, Anhui province, China, April 14, 2013. 
(REUTERS/Stringer)

The NHC noted that while the variant has been detected in horses, dogs, birds and seals around the world, no human cases have been reported. 

It also said an initial study showed the variant did not yet have the ability to effectively infect humans, and that the risk of a large-scale epidemic was low.

The commission warned the public to avoid contact with sick and dead poultry, as well as live poultry, and pay attention to hygiene. 

Those who show similar symptoms would wear a mask and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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In 2021, the NHC confirmed the first case of human infection from the H10N3 strain of bird flu. 

In addition, a man was later hospitalized with the H5N6 strain of the bird flu. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote in March that highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses had been detected in U.S. wild birds in 14 states and in commercial and backyard poultry in 13 states, citing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspective Service (APHIS). 

The agency said H5N1 bird flu poses a low risk to the public. 

On Wednesday, Nebraska state and federal agriculture officials said that another large case of bird flu had been confirmed at a farm in Knox County.

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The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said in a news release that it was the seventh confirmed case of the disease in the state. 

More than 2.1 million laying hens will be euthanized, agriculture officials said. The farm will also be quarantined.

Fox News’ David Aaro, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. 

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