What is the H3N8 virus?
The H3N8 virus is commonly detected in birds but causes few symptoms. It has also infected other mammals, such as horses, dogs, and seals.
The virus is known to have been circulating since 2002 when it was first found in North American waterfowl.
The first recorded human cases are those that have now emerged in China. The two previous cases were reported last April and May, with one person falling critically ill, while the other had only mild symptoms.
China often sees sporadic human infections with bird flu owing to its huge poultry and wild bird populations that often live in close proximity to humans.
Health authorities across the world consider it important to monitor all avian influenza viruses, as they can easily evolve and cause a pandemic.
Sources: Reuters, AFP, dpa, DW
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