Pandemic Warning as China Reports First Death from New Bird Flu Strain

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Hannah Osborne
Feb.5, 2014

Officials in China have confirmed the first death from a new strain of bird flu and warned that the virus, H10N8, is able to spread between humans.

Authorities have just revealed that a woman from Nanchang City died nine days after she was admitted to hospital with fever and severe pneumonia in November.

Tests showed that she was infected with a genetic variant of bird flu. Genome sequencing indicated the virus was of avian origin, with genes derived from the H9N2 virus.

Yuelong Shu, of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said: “A genetic analysis of the H10N8 virus shows a virus that is distinct from previously reported H10N8 viruses having evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans.”

He said the virus probably originated from multiple “reassortments” of different types of bird flu.
“Importantly, the virus had a mutation that is believed to be associated with increased virulence and adaption in mammals, and could enable the virus to become more infectious to people,” co-investigator Dr Qi Jin, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, said.

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