World health officials are on alert after a variant of bird flu, H10N3, was detected in a human being in China.
A number of various bird flu strains often appear in workers dealing with poultry, with a recent case of H5N6 bird flu being reported in a forest park in Shenyang in April.
Beijing’s National Health Commission (NHC) revealed the news on Tuesday, reporting the 41-year-old man who contracted the rare strain was in a stable condition and ready to be discharged.
According to the NHC, the likelihood of the outbreak spreading is very low, with currently no indication the H10N3 can spread easily to humans.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the new case was a “vivid reminder that the threat of an influenza pandemic is persistent”.
“The source of the patient’s exposure to the H10N3 virus is not known at this time, and no other cases were found in emergency surveillance among the local population. At this time, there is no indication of human-to-human transmission,” The WHO said in a statement, via Reuters.
“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.”
Filip Claes, a lab coordinator focusing on Transboundary Animal Diseases in the Asia-Pacific region, said the H10N3 strain was “not a very common virus”, with just 160 isolates detected in 40 years up to 2018.