In China, a 75 year old woman became the first human to die after contracting H10N8 flu. This is a novel flu that was discovered in 1965. According to a Dec.18 Reuters report, this flu has been found in China and six other nations.
A Dec. 19 China Post article reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel alert for Jiangxi province. This area is about 400 miles from one of China’s major population centers at Shanghai. The CDC wants to do more investigation before declaring the virus a certifiable disease, especially since the woman had other medical conditions.
The woman had a history of visiting live poultry markets and had been at a market around the Guangdong area. Everyone who had contact with the woman is under watch and none of them are sick.
According to a Dec.18 International Business Times article, the infected woman was admitted to the hospital with severe pneumonia. She was also diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder and suffered a heart attack.
There is no threat of an H10N8 pandemic unless the virus learns to transmit from human to human. Fortunately, H10N8 is a low pathogenic flu that joins H5N1 and H7N9 as the kind of bird flu that can infect and sicken mammals. It is not likely to kill unless the person has other medical conditions. None of these strains can transmit from human to human at this time.
In the past, people who were infected with H10N8 have had mild symptoms with some contracting severe respiratory infections. H10N8 has been found in Japan, South Korea, the United States, Italy and Sweden. It has Eurasian origins in live poultry and migrating birds. It is similar to H7N9 and it responds to similar treatment.
H7N9 has infected 139 people so far, killing 45 of the infected patients. H10N8 is a less virulent flu.
The Chinese government has done a better job with improved surveillance, reporting and cooperation with international disease control agencies. As a result, if the virus mutates, there are better odds that disease control agencies will know it in time to take pandemic prevention measures.
However, China still has a massive problem with animal and poultry market hygiene. Mammals and birds have been living in conditions of extreme filth and poor disease vector control.
The focus has been on hygiene and bird flu testing at poultry markets.The Chinese courts have also started imposing much more serious punishments and prison time for food businesses that violate the law.