Monday, September 20

Russia reveals the first case of human infection by the H5N8 strain of bird flu



The health authority of Russia confirmed the first case of human infection via bird flu strain on Saturday, February 20. Last year on December 7 workers of poultry plants were infected by the H5N8 virus strain during an outbreak of bird flu. 

Anna Popova, the head of consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has said that “I want to make an announcement of a new discovery by the scientists of Rospotrebnadzor vector research center. The first case of human infection is confirmed with the H5N8 bird flu strain Avian influenza A virus, in a Russian laboratory.” 

Anna Popova further said that the scientists have isolated the genetic material of this strain in the seven workers of poultry farms in south Russia, which reported the infection in such outbreak among fowls in December. 

Anna Popova is the head of consumer rights and human well-being Watchdog Rospotrebnadzor. 

Immediate actions had been taken to control the spread of further infection in other people and animals. And those seven workers who had had the infection are feeling much better now and left with mild symptoms, she added. 

The question is what is the nature of this virus and how it’s spread?

What is the H5N8 virus?

This strain resembles influenza virus A that usually affects birds and mammals, and is recognized with flu-like symptoms in wild birds and poultry farms. It was found in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, until now no cases are associated with humans getting an infection. 

Can they affect humans?

Well, seven workers were infected with this strain, but recovered soon, and left with mild symptoms. Hence, it is concluded that the virus is not mortal. 

How was this strain transmitted to humans?

The investigation said that there was the exposure of workers with flocks of poultry, Reuters said, referring to the email from WHO European arm. The workers were asymptomatic and no further reports of human to human infection were revealed. “We are in discussion with the health national authorities to collect the information and to evaluate the public health impact on this event, the mail added.”

Is eating poultry safe?  

Mostly the reason for infection among humans is the direct contact with infected live or dead poultry. Though there have been no such further reports of human to human transmission of the H5N8 virus, hence properly cooked food is safe. There is no sustained transmission among humans.  

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