Russia reported the first case of transmission of the avian flu strain H5N8 to humans on Saturday, and has warned the World Health Organization about this. Scientists at the Russian laboratory in Vektor reportedly isolated the strain’s genetic material from seven employees at a poultry farm in southern Russia, where a bird outbreak was reported in December.
However, health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said the workers did not suffer any serious health consequences.
The information has already been submitted to the World Health Organization regarding the world’s first case of transmission of avian flu (H5N8) to humans.
Here is all you need to know about the H5N8 strain of avian flu:
- H5N8 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus that causes birds and mammals to have flu-like symptoms. There was still no evidence of transmission between humans.
- The H5N8 strain is not lethal to humans, according to initial findings by the Russian watchdog. The seven infected farm workers were doing well.
- H5N8 was widely thought to be limited to birds and poultry until Russia reported the first case of human transmission.
- Crow samples from the Beed district of Maharashtra were recently found to be positive for the H5N8 strain in January.
- The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying find properly cooked meat or poultry and boiled eggs to be safe for human consumption.
- Recently, during the Parliament’s budget season, Health Minister Ashwini Choubey told Lok Sabha that strains of H5N1, H5N8, and H5 have been identified so far in India.
- People typically get infected by direct contact with animals or polluted areas, according to the WHO, and there is no continuous transmission between humans.
- Avian flu has raged in several European countries including France, where hundreds of thousands of birds have been culled to stop the infection.
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 to spread to humans.
Outbreaks of bird flu also cause poultry plants to kill their birds in order to avoid transmitting the virus and keep importing countries from having to enforce trade restrictions. The vast majority of cases are transmitted by migrant wild birds, so producing nations prefer to keep their poultry indoors or shielded from wildlife interaction.
RIA news agency announced that on Saturday, Siberia’s Vector Institute said it would start developing human tests and a vaccine against H5N8.