Russia claims to have discovered the world’s first case of H5N8 strain of bird flu to humans
Russian officials said on Saturday that they had detected the first case of H5N1 bird flu in humans and had already informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of this “important discovery”.
“The world’s first reported case of avian influenza (H5N8) transmission to humans has already been reported to the World Health Organization.” Anna Popova, head of the Russian health agency Rospotrebnatser, explained that seven people who were contaminated on a poultry farm were “fine.”
The virus is highly contagious among birds, but has never been reported to spread to humans.
Scientists at Russia’s Vector Laboratory have isolated genetic material from the labor of seven workers on a farm in the south of the country, where a bird flu epidemic was discovered in December.
The workers did not experience serious consequences for their health and “feel better,” the official added.
“Steps have been taken quickly to control the situation,” he said.
Although the H5N8 strain has already “crossed the interdisciplinary barrier,” as it spreads from birds to humans, “this variant of the virus does not spread from one person to another, at present,” the person in charge said.
Popova believes that if the virus becomes more pathogenic and dangerous to humans and has the potential to spread from person to person, the discovery will take time to prepare the whole world “by creating tests and vaccines”.
The bird flu virus is present in many European countries, including France, and millions of animals have been euthanized to reduce its progress.