Woman Is First Known Human to Die From Bird Flu Strain

Chinese woman who died from H3N8 was exposed to live poultry at wet market
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2023 7:19 AM CDT
China Records First Human Death From Bird Flu Strain
A chicken at a slaughterhouse in Pudong, Shanghai.   (AP Photo)

China has recorded the first known human death from a common strain of bird flu, though the World Health Organization says the risk of a wider outbreak appears to be low. The WHO says that according to information provided by Chinese authorities, the 56-year-old woman died from the H3N8 strain of avian influenza on March 16, almost a month after she first showed symptoms, Bloomberg reports. Chinese authorities said the woman had multiple pre-existing health problems and a history of exposure to live poultry at wet markets.

Authorities say the woman's contacts were tested and there is no sign that the virus jumped from human to human. The H3N8 strain is common in birds, in which it causes little to no sign of illness, Reuters reports. "Based on available information, it appears that this virus does not have the ability to spread easily from person to person, and therefore the risk of it spreading among humans at the national, regional, and international levels is considered to be low," the WHO said in a statement. Only two other human cases of H3N8 have been detected, both of them in China last year. The WHO said vigilance is needed because "further sporadic human cases are expected in the future." (More bird flu stories.)

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