Moscow: Scientists from Russia’s research center Vector have confirmed the first case of human infection with the H5N8 strain of the influenza A virus, which causes bird flu, reported news agencies on Saturday. “I want to make an announcement on an important scientific discovery by scientists of Rospotrebnadzor’s Vector research center. The first case of human infection with the H5N8 strain of the Avian influenza A virus in the Russian Federation was confirmed in a laboratory,” the head of Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said on Russia-24 broadcaster.Also Read - Kerala: 12,000 Ducks Culled in Alappuzha Amid Bird Flu Alert

The highly contagious strain is lethal for birds but has never before been reported to have spread to humans. Scientists have isolated the genetic material of this strain of flu in seven employees of a poultry farm in Russia’s south, where an outbreak was registered among the poultry in December. Also Read - Bird Flu Confirmed In Kerala's Alappuzha Once Again, Culling of Birds Ordered in Affected Areas

“All the seven people that I have mentioned feel fine, they had only mild clinical symptoms,” Popova assured. The workers did not suffer any serious health consequences, she added. Also Read - 189 Birds Dead in Rajasthan Due to Avian Influenza

Popova praised “the important scientific discovery,” saying “time will tell” if the virus can further mutate or not.

(With inputs from agencies)