Chinese health authorities have reported the first known human-to-human transmission of the H3N8 strain of bird flu. Accordingly, the infection was found in a 4-year-old boy. He is reportedly in critical condition.
The known case is therefore a 4-year-old boy who was hospitalized on April 10 in the city of Zhumadian in the central province of Henan. This is reported by the Chinese health authority in a statement from April 26th. The agency added that no human-to-human transmission of this virus strain had been reported to date. H3N8 is known to infect horses, seals and dogs.
According to According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is one of the two strains that cause canine flu in the United States. The pathogen has been identified in dogs across much of the United States, according to the CDC on its website, and has not yet infected a human. The commission stated that the likelihood of the disease spreading to humans was low. “This infection is an accidental cross-species transmission,” it says in the statement. “There is a low risk of large-scale transmission.” However, this is said to be a similar strain to the one that caused a pandemic in 1889.
However, it is known that when viruses jump from animals to humans, they can mutate there over time in such a way that they can adapt to the human system and thus spread there as well. This should also be the case with the corona viruses, which are actually mainly widespread in the animal world (and especially in bats). However, with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, it is widely assumed that it was artificially produced in a laboratory (see reports here and here). The story that the virus was first transmitted to humans at an animal market and then immediately passed from person to person so quickly was doubted by many experts.
In the case of the 4-year-old boy in China who was in a critical condition authorities say his parents raise chickens and crows, and the area is home to wild ducks. It is believed that these wild ducks spread the virus and the boy then contracted it from the birds at home. However, none of his close contacts have also tested positive for the virus. It is therefore assumed that this is an isolated case.