HealthDay News — An elderly woman in China is the the first person known to have died from a novel reassortant strain of influenza A H10N8, according to researchers.

HaiYing Chen, MD, from Nanchang City Disease Control and Prevention in China, and colleagues obtained and analyzed clinical, epidemiological and virological data from the 73-year-old female patient and reported the findings in The Lancet.

The patient presented with fever and was admitted to the hospital on Nov. 30, 2013, where she developed multiple organ failure and died nine days after onset of illness. In the tracheal aspirate specimen obtained seven days after illness onset, a novel reassortant avian influenza A H10N8 virus was isolated.

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Sequence analyses found that all genes of the virus were of avian origin, and six internal genes were from avian influenza A H9N2 viruses. An avian-like receptor binding preference was indicated by the aminoacid motif GlnSerGly at residues 226 to 228 of the hemagglutinin protein. The original tracheal aspirate samples contained a mixture of glutamic acid and lysine at residue 627 in PB2 protein, associated with mammalian adaptation. The virus was found to be sensitive to neuraminidase inhibitors.

Although China has previously detected H10N8 in wild and domestic birds, this is the first ever report of H10N8 isolated from a patient, according to WHO. It was established that the patient had visited a live poultry market four days before onset of illness.

“The virus caused human infection and could have been associated with the death of a patient,” Chen and colleagues wrote.


  1. Chen HY et al. Lancet. 2014; doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60111-2.