This Saturday, February 20, Russia announced that it had detected the first case of transmission to humans of the H5N8 strain of bird flu, adding that it had informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of this fact. “important discovery”.
“The laboratory has confirmed the first case of infection of a person with the group A virus, avian influenza AH5N8,” Anna Popova, director of the Russian health agency Rospotrebnadzor, told television. The virus was detected in seven infected people at a poultry factory in southern Russia, where an outbreak of bird flu affected the animals in December 2020, he added, adding that patients “feel fine” and have no complications. “Steps were quickly taken to control the situation” in this focus of infection, he said.
An alert to prepare
However, if the H5N8 strain has “crossed the species barrier” by being transmitted from birds to humans, “this variant of the virus it is not transmitted from person to person today“said Anna Popova, who believes that this discovery” gives the whole world time to prepare. ” creating tests and a vaccine, “in the event that this virus becomes more pathogenic and more dangerous for humans and acquires the ability to be transmitted from person to person.” “Then we would be fully armed and prepared,” he concludes, as the whole world is fighting another virus: the coronavirus.
Avian flu is currently in several European countries, including France, where millions of animals have been euthanized to stop its spread.