Russia: Doctors detects first case of H5N8 bird flu transfer to humans

    Russia has reported the first case of a bird flu strain, H5N8, being passed from poultry to humans.

    Russian health officials said seven workers at a poultry plant in the country had been infected following an outbreak there in December 2020 but they are now recovering.

    “All seven people… are now feeling well,” Anna Popova head of Russia’s consumer health watchdog said.

    She added that adequate measures had been quickly taken to stop the spread of the disease.

    After Russia reported the case to the World Health Organization, Ms Popova said there was no sign of transmission between humans.

    She praised “the important scientific discovery” by Russia’s Vektor laboratory, which had isolated the strain’s genetic material from the infected workers.

    “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,” Ms Popova said.

    It is normal for strains of bird flu to occasionally infect humans and have led to deaths – but this is the first report of the H5N8 strain being passed from bird to humans.

    By Jide N.