The Variant of H5N1 Bird Flu Emerges in China
Genetic sequencing in China showed that the new case was caused by clade 188.8.131.52b, the same variant that has spread worldwide and raised concerns about a possible threat to human health. This sets it apart from the cases in Cambodia, which were caused by clade 184.108.40.206c, an older variant.
Spread of H5N1 Bird Flu Raises Concerns
The global spread of bird flu has raised concerns about the possibility of a future variant that could lead to human-to-human transmission. Recent cases in mammals, including mink, foxes, and sea lions, have added to those concerns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) have expressed their concerns about the spread of H5N1 avian influenza. WHO's Dr. Sylvie Briand said, "The global H5N1 situation is worrying given the wide spread of the virus in birds around the world and the increasing reports of cases in mammals, including humans."
Recent Cases of H5N1 Bird Flu Around the World
A 9-year-old girl in Ecuador tested positive for H5N1 bird flu in January, making it the first case in South America. She was hospitalized in critical condition but has since recovered. In September 2022, a 38-year-old woman died of H5N1 in China's Guangxi after exposure to backyard poultry.