Russia announced on Saturday that it had discovered the first case of bird flu H5N8 transmitted to humans, informing the World Health Organization (WHO) of this “significant discovery”.
“The laboratory has confirmed the first case of avian influenza AH5N8 group A virus infection,” Anna Popova, head of the Russian health organization Rospotrebnadzor, told television.
The virus was found in seven infected people at a poultry factory in southern Russia, where the avian flu pandemic affected animals in December 2020, Ms Popova said, adding that sick people “feel better” and have no problems.
In view of this infection, “immediate steps were taken to control the situation,” she said.
The H5N8 species has “crossed the interspecific barrier” by spreading from birds to humans, “this variant of the virus is not currently transmitted from person to person,” she reiterated.
If the virus becomes more pathogenic and dangerous to humans and acquires the ability to transmit, it will “give the world time to prepare” by creating “tests and vaccines” from person to person, she said.
“We will then be fully armed and fully prepared,” she continued.
The avian flu virus is currently rampant in many European countries, including France, where millions of animals have been slaughtered to stop its progress.
Russia has already “sent this information to the World Health Organization,” Ms Popova said.