Russia has declared the first cases of Bird Flu found in humans to the World Health Organisation. 

Seven cases have been reported to the World Health Organisation. This comes after an outbreak of bird flu on a Russian poultry farm last December. 

This is the first time the H5N8 bird flu strain has been detected in humans. 

Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor said that the cases were reported “several days ago, just as we became absolutely certain of our results,”.

Workers at the poultry farm were infected with H5N8 following an outbreak of the virus.

It’s been reported that those infected didn’t suffer serious negative health consequences. They have all made a full recovery since being infected. Miss Popova added that “this situation did not develop further.”

The strain is highly contagious and lethal for birds. However, this is the first report of H5N8 being passed from birds to humans. 

According to Rospotrebnadzor,  analysis has suggested that the virus is not transmitted from person to person. “But only time will tell how soon future mutations will allow it to overcome this barrier,” Ms Popova added.

The discovery of H5N8 “gives us all, the whole world, time to prepare for possible mutations and the possibility to react in a timely way and develop test systems and vaccines.”

The World Health Organisation has not yet made a statement on this news. 

Although this is the first instance of H5N8, H5N1 is a different strain of bird flu and that has been known in the past to spread to humans. There were 5 outbreaks of  the H5N8 strain across the UK last year. 

Most instances of avian flu infection in humans have been related to close contact with infected birds. 

Sadly, these bird flu outbreaks often lead to poultry owners killing their birds to prevent spread of the virus.

 

Image via Alamy