“If confirmed, this would be the first time H5N8 has infected people,” a WHO spokesperson said in a statement.
According to the BBC News, seven workers in a poultry in the south of Russia were infected following a December outbreak of bird flu. All seven people are ‘feeling well’, said the head of Russia's consumer health watchdog, Anna Popova.
However, Popova also adds that there was no sign of transmission between humans. “The discovery of these mutations when the virus has not still acquired an ability to transmit from human to human gives us all, the entire world, time to prepare for possible mutations and react in an adequate and timely fashion,” Popova added.
While this is the first report of the H5N8 strain being passed on, other strains of bird flu have been known to infect humans and occasionally lead to deaths.
Back in 2009, an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico led to the US imposing a three-week travel ban for trips to Mexico, with fears that that this types of virus could lead to widespread infection if human-to-human transmission becomes a reality – much like we are witnessing today with the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
However, as Popova, highlights, we are prepared with the knowledge and foresight for this few cases identified in Russia.