Russian farmworkers first humans to contract new form of bird flu

Russian farmworkers first humans to contract new form of bird flu


Seven workers at a poultry farm in southern Russia were the first humans to catch the H5N8 strain of avian influenza in humans.

Russia told the World Health Organization that the virus isn’t yet spreading between people, Anna Popova, the country’s public health chief, said Saturday, Bloomberg reported. All of the farmworkers had asymptomatic cases and recovered, she said.

The strain was first reported in November, found in 15 Russian regions among both poultry and wild birds. It was not considered dangerous to humans at first.

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“It is not transmitted from person to person,” Popova said. “But only time will tell how soon future mutations will allow it to overcome this barrier.” The world has a chance to prepare for possible mutations and to respond in a timely way to develop tests and vaccines for the strain, she said.

Siberia’s Vector Institute said on Saturday it would start developing human tests and a vaccine against H5N8, RIA news agency

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