The patient, a 41-year-old man who lives in the city of Zhenjiang, was hospitalized April 28 after having fever symptoms, the National Health Commission said. He was diagnosed with H10N3 a month later.
Though the man remains under medical supervision, his condition was described as stable and meeting the standards for discharge. It was not clear from the statement how he caught the virus.
The news of the H10N3 infection comes amid the devastation of the covid-19 pandemic, which also was first identified in China and is widely thought to have come to humans from bats through some form of zoonotic spread.
A different strain of bird flu, known as H7N9, led to the deaths of around 300 people during an outbreak between 2016 and 2017.
But varieties of avian influenza are common in China and, due to increased surveillance of the viruses, relatively easy to find in humans. Unlike in H7N9, there is no evidence that H10N3 can spread easily among humans.
“The more we look for novel viruses as a cause of illness among patients the more we are likely to find them,” Gregory Gray, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Duke University, told the South China Morning Post.
Alexandra Phelan, a global health lawyer at Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security, wrote on Twitter that people should be “alert but not alarmed” about the news, adding that spillover between species did not itself mean there was epidemic risk.
China’s National Health Commission also said that H10N3 caused less severe illness among birds.
Chinese authorities placed all the man’s close contacts under medical observation and said the contacts did not display any “abnormalities.”
Local residents were told to remain vigilant, wear a mask and visit a doctor if they suffered any influenza symptoms. They were also advised to try to avoid close contact with birds, dead or alive.