A man infected with H10N3 bird flu in China
From animal species to humans
The infected man is fine
A mild flu
Air transmission
Large-scale spread?
We shouldn't lower our guard
Human-to-human transmission would change everything
Human-to-human infections in Vietnam and Thailand
Can we cure the bird flu?
Deaths from bird flu
Focus on bird migrations
Where in the world has bird flu been detected?
Greater virulence
Birds and zoonosis
Farm surveillance
Why do we hear more about zoonosis in recent years?
Climate crisis
The world's first case of H10N3 bird flu ... and hopefully the last
One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(1/19)
A man infected with H10N3 bird flu in China

For the first time, a case of H10N3 bird flu has been detected in a human being. A man was infected with the virus in Jiangsu province. Obviously, after the COVID-19 pandemic, the news is causing concerns. But is there really a risk of a new global outbreak?

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(2/19)
From animal species to humans

The jump of a virus from an animal species to humans was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic - even though we don't know which animal it was. And now, a bird has infected a human with a new variant of bird flu. A similar starting point.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(3/19)
The infected man is fine

However, the Chinese authorities offer reassuring data. First of all, the infected man is out of danger.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(4/19)
A mild flu

According to the National Health Committee of the Chinese Ministry of Health, the infectious capacity of this H10N3 bird flu is mild. Medical authorities insist, moreover, that the disease is only transmitted between bird and human. No human-to-human transmission has been detected when tracing the patient's contacts.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(5/19)
Air transmission

Although in this specific case no details have been given of how the individual was infected, the infection of avian flu generally occurs by aerosols or small drops that the birds give off. That is, in the same way as COVID-19.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(6/19)
Large-scale spread?

According to the Chinese researchers, “the risk of large-scale spread is very low.” (But note that they don't use the term “impossible.”)

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(7/19)
We shouldn't lower our guard

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how unpredictable the behaviour of some viruses can be. The important thing is therefore to quickly detect any contagion and isolate the infected person in order to prevent any possible community transmission.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(8/19)
Human-to-human transmission would change everything

At the moment, bird flu is hardly spread between humans. Of course, we must emphasize the words "at the moment," because viruses can mutate and adapt to spread further. It is unthinkable, scholars have said, that finally some form of avian flu will manage to move from human to human.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(9/19)
Human-to-human infections in Vietnam and Thailand

In fact, some cases of human-to-human bird flu infections have been reported in Vietnam and Thailand. So far, however, they are numerically exceptional and there has been no group expansion that led to serious alerts.

(Image: Chris Slupski / Unsplash)

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(10/19)
Can we cure the bird flu?

Another worrying aspect of bird flu is that, as with COVID-19, there is no specific treatment that works 100%. Some vaccines have been tried that might be effective, but in the end, as with so many influenzas, it is our immune system that fights the virus.

 

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(11/19)
Deaths from bird flu

If the infection is very serious and the immune system cannot contain it, a person can die from bird flu. However, the specific number of deaths caused by bird flu is not very high. The World Health Organization indicates a total of 64 deaths, mainly in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(12/19)
Focus on bird migrations

It warns people to be extremely careful when interacting with birds. Moreover, it advocates a check on bird migrations that can transfer viruses from one continent to another. Both precautions are valid against a possible bird flu pandemic.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(13/19)
Where in the world has bird flu been detected?

Cases of bird flu in humans have only been reported in Asia. However, Europe witnessed a case of a cat infected with bird flu in 2006. The pet lived on the German island of Rügen. In addition, cats with bird flu were also found in Austria.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(14/19)
Greater virulence

There are studies that show how new variants of avian flu are increasing in virulence. The fact is that, the more it infects humans, the more the virus will learn. That is why it is essential to stop any infection so as to prevent the virus from strengthening itself.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(15/19)
Birds and zoonosis

Zoonosis is the jump of viruses between species. It often has devastating consequences, which we saw for example with COVID-19. The most common case of zoonosis is when birds infect mammals with some new type of flu. For that reason, it is essential to monitor diseases in birds.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(16/19)
Farm surveillance

Health authorities usually monitor agricultural facilities with birds. In the event that viruses appear among bird specimens, all animals in the same facility are usually eliminated - and even those at nearby farms.

(Image: Niklas Hamann / Unsplash)

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(17/19)
Why do we hear more about zoonosis in recent years?

The concern with zoonotic jumps from birds to other species has grown over the years. There have also been scares about diseases coming from animals like hogs and cows. Why has this phenomenon appeared to increase so much in recent years?

 

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(18/19)
Climate crisis

One of the answers is the climate crisis that the planet is suffering. Humans have invaded areas that were previously reserved for other species. They have devastated pristine places and lived among animals with whom they never used to have contact before. The viruses of those species, which were previously far away from humans, have now begun to visit us.

One case of bird flu (H10N3) discovered: Risk of a new pandemic?
(19/19)
The world's first case of H10N3 bird flu ... and hopefully the last

In any case, the first global case of H10N3 bird flu in China is most likely also the last of this variant. Still, we should remain vigilant in case another mutation of that flu arrives.

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