A new pathogen of avian influenza A (H5N8) can be transmitted from birds to humans — it has overcome the interspecific barrier.
The first case of human infection with a new type of avian influenza virus was detected in Russia. This was stated by the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova.
“Scientists of the Vector Center have isolated the genetic material of this type of avian influenza from seven employees of a poultry farm in the south of the Russian Federation, where an outbreak was registered among the poultry population in December 2020,” Popova said.
She noted that this was the world’s first confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N8) virus.
According to her, all measures to protect people and animals were carried out in a short time, all risks were minimized and this situation did not receive further development.
“All the people, all the seven people I’m talking about today, are doing well, their clinical course was very light. But at the same time, our scientists were able to see changes in the human body and the immune response to the encounter with this virus in all seven employees of this poultry farm. Today they feel good, and at that moment they felt good, the disease ended quite quickly, ” she said.
Cases of transmission of a new type of avian influenza virus from person to person have not yet been recorded, Popova said.
“So far, we see that the new pathogen of avian influenza A (H5N8) is able to be transmitted from birds to humans — it has overcome the interspecific barrier. But today, this variant of the flu virus is not transmitted from person to person,” Popova said.
According to the head of Rospotrebnadzor, “time will tell how quickly subsequent mutations will allow him to overcome this barrier.”
Popova also said that Russia has sent information to the World Health Organization (WHO) about the first case of human infection with a new type of avian flu.