NEW STRAIN OF BIRD FLU CLAIMS FIRST VICTIM – According to health officials in China a new and potentially deadly strain of Bird Flu has emerged to claim its first victim.
Hospital tests confirmed that a previously little known sub-strain of the H10N8 Bird Flu virus was responsible for killing a woman who was admitted to a hospital in China after suffering from a high fever and pneumonia after just nine days.
Despite intense antibiotic and antiviral treatment the woman succumbed to the virus leaving medical professionals concerned that this new strain could result in a pandemic.
Chinese authorities have confirmed that at least one other person in Nanchang City, in the province of Jiangxi, has also contracted the virus.
Health officials have managed to retrace the woman’s activities prior to becoming ill and discovered that she had visited a live poultry market only a few days before contracting the virus; this has lead health officials to believe that the incubations period is approximately four days and therefore similar to that of other known Bird Flu strains.
“A genetic analysis of the H10N8 virus shows a virus that is distinct from previously reported H10N8 viruses, having evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans.” Dr Yuelong Shu, from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing
After examining the virus doctors noted that may have well emerged from multiple re-assortments of the genes from different Blue Flu viruses including H9N2, H7N9 and H5N1; it is the N7N9 and H5N1 virus that has spread to humans.
The Lancet Medical Journal has already published the findings associated with N10N8, or at least what they are currently aware of regarding its make-up.
One doctor at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing told reporters that the virus had indeed mutated in the PB2 gene that is believed to be associated with increased virulence and adaption in mammals; this could enable the virus to become more infectious to people.
The last time scientists discovered the N10N8 was from a water sample taken from the Dongting Lake in Hunan Province back in 2007; in 2012 it was detected yet again at a live poultry market in Guangdong Province.
“Importantly, the virus had a mutation in the PB2 gene that is believed to be associated with increased virulence and adaption in mammals, and could enable the virus to become more infectious to people.” Dr Qi Jin, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing
The H10N8 strain was previously found in a water sample taken from Dongting Lake in Hunan Province in 2007.
Scientists are now warning the Beijing authorities that this finding shouldn’t be taken lightly especially in the event that despite medical treatment a woman died.
Officials at the World Health Organisation stated that such is a reminder as to how vulnerable humans are to animal influenza and viruses.
Currently health officials are not ruling out that more people could become affected by the N10N8 virus and that due to the nature of the strain it is not easy to detect in poultry; doctors also noted that the poor state of the woman’s health may have been a contributing factor to why she didn’t recover from the infection.
Video Note: We have included a BBC Documentary on Bird Flu for those who are interested in finding out more about what Bird Flu is and how it spreads.
Some scientists are convinced that his is Mother Nature’s way of controlling the population and that it is only a matter of time before a virus develops that will have similar affects to that of the Black Death in the 1300 hundreds.