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New bird flu strain: 73-year-old woman dies, strain H10N8 now affecting humans?

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A new bird flu strain has been discovered in eastern China recently. A 73-year-old woman died from strain H10N8; although this type of the deadly virus was not known to affect humans in the past, this is the first case in which a person died from the now fatal strain. The specific cause of death was respiratory failure. Yahoo News offers the latest from Chinese health officials on this health scare this Wednesday evening, Dec. 18, 2013.

The new bird flu strain struck a woman in the Jiangxi Province. Although the 73-year-old woman had been sick for quite some time, she finally passed this Dec. 6 after carrying the H10N8 strain of the widely known bird flu, one that had not infected humans in prior knowledge.

“Although Chinese government officials have not confirmed that the death was connected to the deadly virus, the World Health Organization told Reuters that this was in fact what happened. According to a national government statement, the ill woman was diagnosed with severe pneumonia, failing respiratory abilities, high blood pressure, a neuromuscular disorder, and had finally suffered a heart attack as a result of the bird flu strain.”

Close family members in contact with the 73-year-old victim have not yet exhibited any of these symptoms associated with the new bird flu strain, though she had visited a widely visited bird market less than a week before contracting the virus. Outside of the H10N8 strain, H7N9 (another strain) had been reported in China back in March 2013, which the country has continued trying to deal with among people.

“By the end of October, the World Health Organization officially reported there had been at least 137 laboratory-confirmed human cases of H7N9 in China, including a total of 45 deaths, but that there had been no sustainable evidence of transmission of the virus between in-contact humans. A WHO report from early October also stated that the country would be on enhanced surveillance of the virus and that more cases could be expected.”

"Owing in part to the emergence of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus and infections of humans with this virus in China, there is enhanced surveillance for various subtypes of avian influenza in both humans and animals in China, the countries neighboring China, and globally," the report says. "It is therefore expected that more influenza... events in humans and animals will be detected and reported, as well as identification and reporting of infections with a variety of other influenza subtypes and reassortant viruses."

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