Russia detects world’s first case of Bird Flu H5N8
Officials said seven workers at a poultry plant in the south of the country had been infected following an outbreak recently. “The discovery of these mutations when the virus has not still acquired an ability to transmit from human to human gives us all, the entire world, time to prepare for possible mutations and react in an adequate and timely fashion,” an official said.
Outbreaks of the H5N8 strain have been reported in Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and North Africa in recent months but so far only in poultry. Other strains – H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2 – have been known here) to spread to humans.
The H5N8 is a sub-type of the Influenza A virus that causes flu-like symptoms in birds and mammals. There was no sign yet of transmission between humans. According to initial reports by Russian watchdog, the H5N8 strain is not lethal for humans. The seven farm workers who were infected were doing okay.
Before Russia reported the first case of human transmission, H5N8 was largely believed to be restricted to birds and poultry. Bird flu outbreaks often prompt poultry plants to kill their birds to prevent the virus from spreading, and avoid importing countries having to impose trade restrictions. The vast majority of cases are spread by migrating wild birds, so producing countries tend to keep their poultry indoors or protected from contact with wildlife.
According to the WHO, people usually get infected through direct contact with animals or contaminated environments, and there is no sustained transmission among humans.