WHO Deems Human Spread of H5N8 Bird Flu Low

The World Health Organization on Friday said there is low risk of human-to-human spread of the H5N8 strain of bird flu, after a case of the virus being transmitted to people was recorded Feb. 20 in Russia.  
The WHO statement comes after seven workers were infected at a poultry plant in Astrakhan, near the Volga river. According to Russian state media, the workers became mildly unwell with sore throats.  
“All seven people… are now feeling well,” said the Anna Popova, head of Russia’s consumer health watchdog.
She added that adequate measures were taken quickly to stop the spread of the virus and that there were no signs of transmission between humans.
“All close contacts of these cases were clinically monitored, and no one showed signs of clinical illness,” said Popova.  
According to WHO, outbreaks of the same strain were reported last year in poultry or wild birds in Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Russia.  
Avian flus typically only affect birds and there are multiple strains of bird flu.  
A separate strain, H1N1, spread worldwide among humans in 2009 and 2010, leading to the WHO declaring it an influenza pandemic. The outbreak was mild among humans but deadly among poultry.  
Most cases of human infection come from contact with infected poultry or surfaces contaminated with infected bird saliva, nasal secretions, or feces. 

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