New bird flu strain claims woman’s life

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Beijing - A 73-year-old woman in China has died from a new strain of bird flu, the H10N8 virus, the Xinhua state news agency reported on Wednesday.

Xinhua cited unidentified experts as saying that the case in Nanchang, the capital of the landlocked south-eastern province of Jiangxi, was an individual one and the virus had a low risk of spreading to humans.

The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention had identified the strain as the H10N8 avian influenza virus, Xinhua said.

The Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO) did not have any information about the virus on its website. A WHO spokeswoman said a statement would be issued later on Wednesday.

The woman died on December 6 due to respiratory failure and shock, Xinhua said. She had sought treatment at a hospital in late November.

She had visited a live poultry market and was exposed to the live poultry business, Xinhua said, adding that people who had had close contact with her had not exhibited any abnormal symptoms.

China is at the beginning of its traditional flu season, and has long had a problem with bird flu.

The H7N9 strain of bird flu emerged this year in China and has infected at least 139 people in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, killing 45 of them.

Experts say there is no evidence of any easy or sustained human-to-human transmission of H7N9.

But a scientific analysis of probable transmission of the H7N9 virus from person to person, published in August, gave the strongest indication yet that it can at times jump between people and so could potentially cause a human pandemic.

Reuters


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