New cases of avian influenza in Russia concern WHO

By Diego L. S. Navia and Daniel Vidal Pérez |

Seven farm workers in southern Russia were infected with avian influenza A H5N8, previously transmitted only amongst bird. The virus is highly lethal among birds. All of the infected employees were asymptomatic and are now fully recovered. The curious thing is that all the infected were asymptomatic. The transmissibility occured through human contact with bird secretions and excrements of either alive or dead birds. Some epidemic outbreaks had already been reported in aviaries in Russia, Europa, China and Middle East, but without transmission to humans. The disease takes advantage from the migratory habits of some bird species to spread.

Impacts on Defense and Security: The only solution for avian influenza is a mass slaugther, impacting directly on food stocks and billion of dollars in losses to the industry. This extreme situation destabilizes global food security and signals the emergence of new epidemics and millions of fatalities, when transmission to humans is found.

Source: BLACKALL, M. Bird flu: humans infected with H5N8 strain for first time in Russia. The Guardian, 2020. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/20/bird-flu-humans-infected-with-h5n8-strain-for-first-time-in-russia

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