Russia announced it has identified the first cases of H5N8 avian influenza in humans on Saturday, according to multiple reports.
Anna Popova, Russia’s public health official, said in televised comments that seven cases were detected in workers at a poultry farm in southern Russia.
“It is not transmitted from person to person,” Popova said. “But only time will tell how soon future mutations will allow it to overcome this barrier.”
Popova said the discovery of this strain now “gives us all, the whole world, time to prepare for possible mutations and the possibility to react in a timely way and develop test systems and vaccines,” Bloomberg News reports.
Authorities have reported information on the cases to the World Health Organization.
In a statement to The Hill, WHO said it “has been notified by the Russian Federation about human infection with avian influenza H5N8 through International Health Regulation mechanisms.”