Seven cases of a new bird flu detected in Russia after jumping from birds to humans for the first time

Cprrespondent in Moscow



After finding out on Saturday the first case of transmission of a new strain of bird flu From birds to humans in the Ajtubinsk district, in the Ástrajan region (southern Russia), there are already seven people infected by the virus, called A (H5N8). They are employees of the “Vladimirovskaya Poultry Farm”, where all poultry had to be killed and processed meat and eggs destroyed. The disinfection work of all the facilities continues today.

In a statement from the company, quoted by the Russian agency Interfax, it is assured that the seven infected workers are in quarantine and under treatment, but they are fine, with “mild” symptoms of this peculiar flu, although with a sore throat and some general malaise.

The bird flu outbreak was detected at the beginning of last December, when 10,000 birds died in Ajtubinsk, and, last Saturday, the director of the sanitary control body, Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova reported the first case in the world of transmission to humans. Popova assured that Russia has already reported what happened to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the Ástrajan region there are two other poultry farms, but none of them have so far had avian flu infections.

The discovery was made by scientists from the “Véktor” Scientific Research Center in Novosibirsk (Siberia), who confirmed in the laboratory the first case of human infection of virus A(H5N8). However, according to Popova, they determined that the disease is not transmitted between people.

“So far, we have observed that pathogen A (H5N8) is capable of spreading from birds to humans, that is, it has crossed the barrier between species. But this variant of the virus is not transmitted from person to person today, ”said the director of Rospotrebnadzor. In his words, “how quickly subsequent mutations will allow him to overcome this barrier, time will tell.”

«An important problem in science and epidemiology today is the control, monitoring and study of the possible transfer between species of some microorganisms, mainly viruses from animals to humans. We know of several examples of this type and one of the most recent is Covid-19, which reached a person, obviously through an animal. We have examples of swine flu, bird flu, and finding out in time the beginning of this transition between species is now the great task of science because, unfortunately, in the case of the coronavirus it was late, ”said Popova.

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