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Russia reported to WHO, zoonotic transmissions of H5N8 avian influenza infections

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  • Russia reported to WHO, zoonotic transmissions of H5N8 avian influenza infections

    This is something worth monitoring.

    Originally posted by CNN

    Russia tells WHO it has detected first case of avian flu strain in humans
    by Zahra Ullah and Nada Bashir
    Sun 21 February 21 2021

    (CNN)Russian authorities say they have detected what is believed to be "human infection with avian influenza H5N8," the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed to CNN.

    Russia notified WHO of the possible strain. "If confirmed, this would be the first time H5N8 has infected people," a WHO Europe spokesperson said in a statement Saturday.

    The reported cases were workers exposed to bird flocks, according to preliminary information, the statement added.

    The workers were "asymptomatic and no onward human to human transmission was reported," the spokesperson said.

    Speaking during a televised briefing on Saturday, Anna Popova, the head of Russia's Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing, said that the strain had been detected in seven poultry farm workers in the south of the country, state-run news agency TASS reported.

    While still not confirmed by the WHO, the Russian health authority has said it is in discussion with national authorities to gather more information and "assess the public health impact" of the incident.

    Avian flu usually affects only birds and there are many different strains of it.

    Most cases of human infection are due to contact with infected poultry or surfaces that are contaminated with infected bird excretions: saliva, nasal secretions or feces.

    In 2014 an H5N8 outbreak infected poultry on farms in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.



  • #2
    Originally posted by AAAS_EurekAlert

    Emerging H5N8 avian influenza viruses are a serious public health concern

    AAAS Research News
    20 May 2021

    The emergence and global spread of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza virus (AIV), a pathogen that has caused continuous and ongoing outbreaks with massive mortality in both wild and farmed birds across Eurasia and Africa throughout 2020, represents a considerable public health concern - particularly considering the first human cases of H5N8 infection were first reported last December. In a Perspective, Weifeng Shi and George Gao discuss the emergence and zoonotic potential of the H5 AIV lineages. Shi and Gao argue that vigilant surveillance and rigorous infection control measures for these emerging viruses are critical to avoid further human spillovers that could result in new and devastating pandemics. Perhaps overshadowed by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, over the past year, H5N8 infections in both wildfowl and poultry have been identified in at least 46 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa. While these outbreaks have led to the death or slaughter of many millions of birds worldwide, they've also notably resulted in at least one spillover event in Russia, where seven poultry farm workers tested positive for H5N8 virus. According to the authors, the rapid global spread of this AIV and its demonstrated ability to cross the species barrier, transmitting to humans, makes it a major concern to not only farming and wildlife security, but also global public health. Shi and Gao suggest that the surveillance of highly pathogenic AIVs in poultry farms, live markets and wild birds must become a global priority.



    • #3
      Originally posted by Medical-X-Press

      Russians infected with H5N8 avian influenza virus suggests possibility of another pandemic
      by Bob Yirka
      22 May 2021

      Two virus researchers in China are recommending security measures after seven Russian farm workers became infected with a zoonotic bird flu virus last year. In their Perspectives piece published in the journal Science, Weifeng Shi and George Gao, both of whom are affiliated with multiple institutions in China, suggest that the makeup and history of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza virus threaten the possibility of another pandemic.

      As Shi and Gao note, the new strain of influenza virus was first discovered in a duck in China back in 2010. By 2014, outbreaks had been seen in Japan and South Korea in both domestic and wild birds. And by 2016, it had been found in birds in India, Russia Mongolia, the U.S. and parts of Europe. By 2020, outbreaks had been seen in 46 countries. Shi and Gao note that this history indicates that the virus is able to spread very rapidly. Even more concerning was a report of crossover infections in seven Russian farm workers this past December. The authors note that the infected workers did not have any symptoms (they were tested for safety reasons) and there was no indication that the virus was transmissible from one person to the next. But they point out, that once a crossover has been made, it generally does not take a virus long to adapt to spread to other victims—they note how quickly the virus mutated to jump from duck to duck and then to other bird species. They also note that the virus has been found to be quite lethal, with massive die-offs in multiple outbreaks. The Russian workers were tested, for example, after 101,000 hens died.

      On a more optimistic note, Shi and Gao note that it is not too late to take preventive measures that could prevent a pandemic. They suggest that vigilant surveillance of farms, live markets and wild birds, along with the implementation of standard infection control measures, could slow the spread of the virus, giving pharmaceutical companies time to develop a vaccine for it.

      Originally posted by Science_Alert

      Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu Outbreak Already Reported in 46 Countries, Scientists Warn
      by Peter Dockrill
      24 May 2021

      While the world was distracted with the rampant spread of a novel coronavirus, 2020 also witnessed an explosion in another deadly pathogen that could pose a threat to global public health.

      H5N8, a subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV), was identified decades ago, but during 2020 a series of emerging and ongoing H5N8 outbreaks in avian populations across dozens of countries have led to the death or slaughter of millions of birds worldwide.

      "The affected geographic regions have been expanding continuously, and at least 46 countries have reported highly pathogenic H5N8 AIV outbreaks," virus researchers Weifeng Shi and George F. Gao write in a new perspective article in Science, warning of the dangers of H5N8 if we don't closely monitor and contain this worrisome trend.

      While the most vulnerable animals to H5N8 are different kinds of birds (including farmed chicken and ducks, but also wild and migratory birds), human cases of the virus have also been discovered in recent times.

      An outbreak of the avian flu in Russia in December 2020 jumped to poultry workers, with seven people on a farm in southern Russia showing signs of the infection – representing the first time H5N8 had ever been found in humans.

      While that was a first for H5N8, it certainly wasn't a first for clades and subclades related to H5N8, nor for avian flu viruses in general.

      "To date, there have been a total of 862 laboratory-confirmed human cases of infection with H5N1 reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), including 455 deaths," Shi and Gao explain. "These cases were from 17 countries, with ~76 percent from Egypt and Indonesia."

      But zoonotic risks are only part of the problem with H5N8 and its ilk. In most of the recent outbreaks, a clade of H5N8 called 2.3.4 has become the dominant pathogen worldwide, first seen in a Chinese wet market in 2010.

      "Clade 2.3.4 H5 AIVs, particularly the H5N8 subtype, have clearly displayed a propensity for rapid global spread in migratory birds," the researchers write, noting that these viruses also display evidence of constant evolution, genetically reassorting themselves with parts of other AIV subtypes.
      Shi and Gao – respectively from China's Shandong First Medical University and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention – were among some of the first scientists to document the novel coronavirus in early 2020.

      They note that the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic – and the prevention and control measures world populations enacted in response – saw a sharp reduction in the spread of seasonal human influenza A and B viruses in the last year.

      Nonetheless, in the same timeframe, a number of highly pathogenic H5Ny AIVs, including H5N1, H5N2, H5N5, and H5N8 subtypes, spread across China, South Africa, Europe, Eurasia, and elsewhere.

      At the same time, research has shown that clade 2.3.4 viruses show particular cell-binding adaptations that could pose greater risks for human transmission, including potentially human-to-human transmissibility.

      In all, the researchers say we need to significantly step up our surveillance of HPAIVs in poultry farms now, before these pathogens fly the coop.

      "Because of the long-distance migration of wild birds, the innate capacity for reassortment of AIVs, the increased human-type receptor binding capability, and the constant antigenic variation of HPAIVs, it is imperative that the global spread and potential risk of H5N8 AIVs to poultry farming, avian wildlife, and global public health are not ignored," Shi and Gao write.

      The findings are reported in the AAAS journal Science.




      • #4
        I am actually amazed we havent seen a flu pandemic out of our factory farms over last 3 decades. H1N1 came from pig factory farm in 2009 but it wasnt severe. There have been 9 flu pandemics in 3 centuries. We are overdue (althought it doesnt work like that, random events). Given the increase in the human population, increase in factory farming, increase encroachment into wild habitats we should expect the frequency to increase over the historical record (perhaps I am underestimating improvments in human hygiene, animal husbandry and the separation of most humans from food production, but surely thats compensated by the sheer numbers game). Worst case modelled scenario is a 60 % mortality flu pandemic.

        The 9 were
        • 1729
        • 1732
        • 1781
        • 1830
        • 1833
        • 1889
        • 1918
        • 1957
        • 1968

        The tech in Bioreactor meat looks close, closer than people realise. Pandemics are numbers game, reduce the number of farms by 10%, 10% less chance of a pandemic, nothing to sneeze at. i dont think pandemic prevention is on the list of things or antibiotic resistance for that matter. Focus is on animal ethics, land use, climate change. We ned to rewrite that list. We might want to think about subsizing that tech developemnt and infrastructure scaling, not immediately obvious, but this might not be one to not leave to the free market, big fan that I am of that approach...