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First Human Victim of the New Bird Flu Virus Confirmed In China

Update Date: Feb 05, 2014 09:19 AM EST

The first case of human infections with a new avian influenza virus has been confirmed in China, according to a new report published by The Lancet. The influenza virus has genetically evolved from the H10N8 virus. 

The victim was a 73-year-old woman from Nanchang city who died 9 days after the onset of illness from the infections. Few days earlier she had visited the hospital with symptoms of fever and pneumonia. In spite of being treated with antibiotics, and antiviral medication, she quickly deteriorated quickly and died developing multiple organ failure.

Clinicians have discovered from her tracheal swab samples that she died from an avian virus which is a new strain of H10N8 virus. Researchers have called it JX346.

"The microbe culture and deep sequencing data showed that the avian influenza A H10N8 virus was overwhelmingly dominant in tracheal aspirate specimens, indicating that the JX346 virus infection was associated with the illness and death of the patient," the study authors said according to Medical News Today. 

Previously the H1N08 virus was identified in a water sample taken at Dongting Lake in Hunan Province, China, in 2007. In 2010, same virus was observed at a live poultry market in the Guangdong province of China. However, this is the first case of human infection.

"The results suggested that JX346 might originate from multiple reassortments between different avian influenza viruses," explained Dr. Yuelong Shu, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing who also co-authored the report, according to Medical News Today.

"The H10 and H8 gene segments might have derived from different wild bird influenza viruses reassorted to give rise to a hypothetical H10N8 virus in wild birds, which infected poultry and then reassorted with H9N2 viruses in poultry to give rise to the novel reassortant JX346 (H10N8) virus."

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