The World Health Organization recently announced that it was notified by the Chinese health authorities of the first ever confirmed human case of avian influenza A H10N8, resulting in death.
The victim was a 73-year-old female from the Jiangxi Province in China with underlying medical conditions and a compromised immune system. She was hospitalized on November 30 with a severe pneumonia and died on December 6.
The patient visited a live bird market four days before the onset of symptoms. While the specific source of infection remains unknown, the investigation is ongoing.
Wild birds and poultry are known carries of the avian influenza H10N8 virus. While this was the first human case of infection, no additional suspected cases or sustained human-to-human transmission have been observed.
The Chinese government is heavily investigating the case and has increased its surveillance of the disease and its detection, prevention and control methods. The WHO is keeping in close contact with the health authorities in China and will announce important updates as they occur.
To help prevent additional infection, the WHO released a number of preventative guidelines, including the avoidance of contact with sick or dead wild birds and poultry and refraining from touching surfaces that could have been contaminated with poultry blood and/or feces.
The WHO also recommends ensuring all meat is thoroughly cooked before consumption, washing hands thoroughly when coming into contact with wild birds or poultry and covering the mouth and nose when sneezing. These measures can help prevent both the contraction of the influenza virus and spread of the disease.