According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a woman in China has died after contracting a rare type of bird flu, making the death the first known human fatality from the strain.

However, the H3N8 subtype of avian influenza does not seem to spread from person to person.

The woman, aged 56, was from the southern province of Guangdong and is the third person to have contracted this subtype, with the previous two cases also reported in China last year. Although the Guangdong Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the third infection in the woman last month, no further information has been provided regarding her death.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that the person who died from the rare H3N8 subtype of avian influenza had various pre-existing health conditions and had been in contact with live birds.


In China, sporadic cases of bird flu among humans are frequent as avian flu viruses are prevalent among the large populations of domesticated and wild birds. The WHO mentioned that samples taken from a wet market that the woman visited before falling ill tested positive for influenza A(H3), indicating that this might have been where she contracted the infection.


Although the H3N8 subtype of avian influenza is uncommon in humans, it is prevalent among birds and typically does not cause any noticeable symptoms in them. It has been known to also infect various other animals. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that no other individuals who were in close proximity to the woman were found to have been infected.