Russia reports first human cases of H5N8 bird flu
“The first cases of human infection with [avian influenza A(H5N8)] have been laboratory confirmed.”
There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
The virus was found in seven employees at a poultry farm in southern Russia, where outbreaks of H5N8 bird flu had previously been reported in the bird population. Popova described the human cases as “mild,” according to the Interfax news agency.
“The virus can be transmitted from birds to humans, it has overcome the interspecies barrier,” Popova said. “As of today, this variant of the influenza virus is not transmitted from person to person. Only time will tell how quickly future mutations will allow it to overcome this barrier.”
Popova said the discovery will help researchers to prepare for the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the H5N8 virus. Information about the cases has been submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO). ■