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Appeal for Hong Kong to screen for bird flu variant after Guangdong woman’s death linked to H3N8 strain

 

Appeal for Hong Kong to screen for bird flu variant after Guangdong woman’s death linked to H3N8




Appeal for Hong Kong to screen for bird flu variant after Guangdong woman’s death linked to H3N8 strain

The recent death of a woman in Guangdong, China, linked to the H3N8 strain of bird flu, has sparked concerns in Hong Kong. As a result, experts are urging Hong Kong authorities to increase their efforts to screen for the variant, which can be fatal in humans. In this article, we will discuss what bird flu is, the H3N8 strain, the risk it poses to humans, and what Hong Kong authorities are doing to prevent an outbreak.

What is bird flu?

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a highly infectious viral disease that affects birds, such as chickens, ducks, and geese. It is caused by the influenza A virus and can also affect humans. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected birds, their droppings, or contaminated surfaces. In rare cases, it can be transmitted from person to person.

The H3N8 strain

The H3N8 strain of bird flu is a highly pathogenic virus that was first identified in 1963. It mainly affects horses but has also been found in birds, such as ducks and geese. The virus can cause severe respiratory illness in horses and can be fatal. In birds, it can cause mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

The risk to humans

While the H3N8 strain of bird flu is primarily a disease of animals, it can infect humans, albeit rarely. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been only two recorded cases of human infection with the H3N8 virus, one in Canada in 2005 and another in Russia in 2012. In both cases, the individuals had close contact with infected animals and made a full recovery.

Hong Kong’s response

Hong Kong has a history of dealing with bird flu outbreaks, and authorities have taken steps to prevent the spread of the H3N8 strain. The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has advised the public to avoid contact with birds and their droppings, to cook poultry thoroughly before consumption, and to wash hands frequently. Additionally, the CHP has increased surveillance of imported birds and has enhanced screening measures at the border.

However, experts are urging Hong Kong authorities to do more to screen for the H3N8 strain, especially given the recent death in Guangdong. They argue that Hong Kong’s close proximity to Guangdong and its high population density make it particularly vulnerable to a bird flu outbreak.

Conclusion

The recent death in Guangdong linked to the H3N8 strain of bird flu has raised concerns in Hong Kong. While the risk to humans is low, experts are urging Hong Kong authorities to increase their efforts to screen for the virus. The CHP has taken steps to prevent the spread of bird flu, but more can be done to protect the public from the H3N8 strain.

FAQs

Can humans get bird flu from eating chicken?

  1. While it is possible to contract bird flu from eating infected chicken, the virus is destroyed by proper cooking.

How is bird flu treated in humans?

  1. Treatment for bird flu in humans typically involves antiviral medication and supportive care.

Can bird flu be transmitted from person to person?

  1. In rare cases, bird flu can be transmitted from person to person, but it is not easily spread from person to person.

What are the symptoms of bird flu in humans?

  1. Symptoms of bird flu in humans include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and eye infections.

Should I be worried about bird flu?

  1. While the risk of contracting bird flu is low, it is important to take precautions to avoid contact with



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