Charlie Cooper
Independent.co.uk
February 5, 2014

Transmission electron micrograph (TEM), taken at a magnification of 150,000x, revealed the ultrastructural details of an avian influenza A (H5N1) virion / Image: Wikimedia Commons
Avian influenza A (H5N1) virion / Image: Wikimedia Commons
Chinese scientists have said the “pandemic potential” of a new strain of bird flu “should not be underestimated” after the first known human infection resulted in the death of an elderly woman.

The new strain is a variant of a virus known as H10N8, which scientists believe may have originated in wild birds, and later spread to poultry.

The victim, a 73-year-old woman from Nanchang City in south-eastern China, was the first person confirmed to have been infected with the new type, and a second case has since been discovered, raising concerns that the virus has evolved so that it can transfer easily from birds to humans.

Its emergence coincides with a surge in the number of cases of another bird flu strain, H7N9, which is known to have infected 286 people since March last year, causing 60 deaths.

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