Daily News Analysis

H10N3 bird flu

7th June, 2021 Health

GS PAPER II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

The story so far: China has confirmed the first instance of human infection from H10N3, a rare strain of a virus that normally infects poultry.

What do we know so far about H10N3?

  • As long as avian influenza viruses circulate in poultry, sporadic infection of avian influenza in humans is not surprising, which is a vivid reminder that the threat of an influenza pandemic is persistent.

What is avian influenza?

  • H5N1 is the most common virus causing bird flu, or avian influenza.
  • Though largely restricted to birds, and often fatal to them, it can cross over to other animals, as well as humans.
  • According to the WHO, the H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed almost 60% of those infected. Though it is not known to transmit easily among humans, the risk remains.
  • There are several subtypes of the avian influenza virus. Since 2003, these avian and other influenza viruses have spread from Asia to Europe and Africa.

What are the typical symptoms of an avian influenza infection?

  • According to the WHO, avian, swine and other zoonotic influenza virus infections in humans may cause disease with symptoms like mild upper respiratory tract infection (fever and cough), early sputum production and rapid progression to severe pneumonia, sepsis with shock, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and even death.
  • Conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms, encephalitis and encephalopathy have also been reported in varying degrees depending on the subtype.

Why are bird flu viruses a cause of concern?x

  • Speculation about the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 has heightened worries about animal- and bird-borne viruses. T
  • he emergence of new strains, particularly among domesticated animals and birds, is a story of evolution and inevitability, and sporadic reports of new viruses infecting humans abound.
  • An outbreak of the H5N8 virus in birds led to hundreds of thousands of poultry being culled in various European countries.
  • India, too, faced an outbreak of the virus in flocks of poultry in January and undertook culling.