Experts believe the woman became infected after being exposed to a live poultry market. "The patient had multiple underlying conditions. She had a history of exposure to live poultry before the onset of the disease and a history of wild bird presence around her home. No close contacts of the case developed an infection or symptoms of illness at the time of reporting," said WHO in an official statement.

Previous recorded human cases

Since its initial appearance in waterfowl in North America in 2002, H3N8 has been known to be circulating. It is known that H3N8 can also infect seals, dogs, and horses. 

Humans can contract bird flu through direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry, as well as by exposure to contaminated surroundings. Although this type of bird flu is said to be rare in humans and so far only three cases have been diagnosed (all from China). Reports state that “two non-fatal cases emerged – both also in China – in April and May last year.”

According to the WHO, of the two cases that were found last year, one person experienced a serious illness while the other displayed mild symptoms. The aforementioned instances, according to WHO, may have been ill after "direct or indirect exposure to infected poultry."

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