Status: 02/20/2021 4:16 p.m.
Russian authorities have reported the world’s first human transmission of the H5N8 bird flu virus. Seven workers at a Russian poultry factory are infected. The pathogen was previously considered harmless to humans.
Russia claims to have discovered the world’s first transmission of the H5N8 bird flu virus to humans. “Information on the world’s first human flu (H5N8) transmission has already been sent to the World Health Organization (WHO),” said the head of the Russian health agency, Anna Popova. The seven people infected in a poultry factory said they were feeling good. The y recovered and the disease was mild.
Russia reported the case to WHO “a few days ago when we were absolutely certain of our results,” Popova said on state television Rossiya 24. So far there has been no evidence of inter-human transmission, she added. The Vektor research center in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk had therefore detected the transmission with the H5N8 virus.
Deadly to chickens and turkeys
Avian flu, also known as avian influenza, occurs both in wild birds and repeatedly in poultry farms. In Germany, too, it has been repeatedly detected in the past, for example in several wild birds in northern Germany at the end of last year. In January around 16,000 turkeys had to be killed in Brandenburg after the dangerous avian influenza pathogen broke out in a commercial turkey fattening facility.
As a rule, the virus is fatal for the birds, and a threat to humans has not yet been assumed. The infectious disease occurs mainly in water birds. The highest incidence and mortality rates are observed in chickens and turkeys, sometimes up to 100 percent.
The last major outbreak of avian influenza in Germany and other European countries occurred in the winter of 2016/17. In the Federal Republic of Germany, hundreds of thousands of animals were culled in poultry farms to curb the action.
Russia: bird flu virus detected in humans for the first time
Christina Nagel, ARD Moscow, February 20, 2021 4:55 p.m.