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First case of bird flu in humans found in Russia

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Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2021. 12:24 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Seven poultry plant workers in southern Russia were infected by a strain of bird flu known as H5N8 in December, the first time this strain has been passed from poultry to humans, the BBC reports.

Russian consumer health watchdog organization head Anna Popova said the workers are now well and adequate measures had been taken to quickly stop the spread of infection.

According to Popova, there was no sign of transmission between humans and the case had been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Popova praised Russia’s Vektor laboratory for isolating the strain’s genetic material from the infected workers, saying that it gives the world more time to prepare for possible mutations of the virus as it has not yet gained the ability to transmit from human to human. Additionally, she said Russian scientists could now start working on developing test systems.

Other strains of bird flu occasionally infect humans and have led to deaths, but this is the first report of the H5N8 strain being passed on.

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