On Sunday, Russia detected the H5N8 strain of avian influenza in seven poultry farm workers. The workers were reportedly infected during an outbreak at a poultry plant in December.
The workers are now well, and there was also no reported human-to-human transmission. The World Health Organization has since been notified and is in discussion with Russian authorities to gather more information.
Why it matters: Outbreaks of H5N8 in poultry have been reported in different parts of the world, but this would be the first reported case of the H5N8 strain infecting humans if confirmed, according to WHO.
The strain is considered highly pathogenic in poultry, meaning it can cause severe disease with high mortality.
There are a number of strains related to avian influenza, and some of them have infected humans. That includes the strain H5N1 that caused an outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997, which killed six people. There have been 862 reported cases of human infection with the H5N1 strain from January 2003 to Feb. 4, 2021, with a case fatality rate of 53%, according to WHO.