China has confirmed the second human case of the new H10N8 strain of bird flu, contracted by a woman who is in critical condition in hospital in the east of the country.
The 55-year-old woman was admitted to hospital in Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province on January 15, complaining of a sore throat and dizziness, Jiangxi’s health and family planning department said.
The woman, surnamed Zhang, had been to an agricultural market, the department’s statement said.
People who had come into contact with her have not shown any abnormal symptoms. Health experts urged the public to stay away from live poultry and maintain good hygiene.
On December 17, health authorities in Jiangxi confirmed they had detected the H10N8 virus in a 73-year-old woman who had died of respiratory failure on December 6. At the time, health professionals said H10N8 existed among birds, but human infection had never been reported before.
China is in the middle of its traditional flu season and has long had a problem with bird flu.
Another strain, H7N9, emerged in China last year and so far has infected more than 200 people in the country, killing at least 52 patients, including a Shanghai doctor.
Yesterday, three new H7N9 cases were reported in east China’s Zhejiang Province and Guangdong in the south.
Zhejiang has seen new human H7N9 cases for 17 consecutive days since January 9. The new cases brought the number of infections in the province to 46 so far this year.
The new patients in Zhejiang, two men aged 40 and 65, are being treated in hospitals in the provincial capital of Hangzhou.
The Guangdong patient, an 82-year-old man, is in a critical condition.
Human cases of H7N9 have also been reported in Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu Province and Fujian Province.
Liang Weifeng, deputy head of the department of infectious diseases at the First Hospital of Zhejiang Province, said the H7N9 virus tends to become more active during autumn, winter and spring.
With Spring Festival the peak season for poultry sales and consumption, some live poultry markets in Zhejiang have been suspended.
Liang said the number of new cases should drop sharply after the suspension of live poultry markets.
Li Lanjuan, a specialist in H7N9 prevention, said that in April last year, when the virus was as active as it is now, the infection was kept under control by closing poultry markets.