MOSCOW, February 20 – RIA Novosti. Virologists interviewed by RBC assessed the threat of the spread of H5N8 avian influenza among people.
Earlier, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said that seven Russians had contracted the avian influenza A (H5N8) virus. According to her, this is the first case of human infection with this strain in the world.
Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor of Virology, Director of the Eurasian Institute of Zoonotic Infections Alexander Shestopalov said that there are no scientifically confirmed cases of human infection with the H5N8 virus yet.
The specialist spoke about the “Koch triad” – these are the conditions for recognizing the virus as the causative agent of the disease. And one of them is “removing the pathogen in pure culture.”
“There is no such situation here <...> The virus did not stand out from them,” Shestopalov noted.
Other conditions from the “triad” are the presence of the pathogen in all cases of the disease, its absence in healthy people, as well as the onset of the disease when a microbe culture enters the body.
According to Shestopalov, the detection of the virus in humans is “absolutely insignificant”, since it has been circulating in Russia for about ten years and is found in wild and domestic poultry. Moreover, it is found in poultry farms and farms almost throughout Russia and Europe.
The specialist also added that the PCR method, which identified the pathogen H5N8, may have errors.
Nikolai Malyshev, an infectious disease specialist, doctor of medical sciences, in turn, noted that there are a number of diseases in the world that are transmitted from animals to people. At the same time, interspecific transitions are quite rare, but they also take place in the case of avian flu.
“The media gave information about the new virus and many were worried, but many similar things are happening, and no one pays attention,” the scientist said.
He cited as an example salmonellosis, transmitted to humans, for example, in contact zoos from turtles and frogs.
“Children get infected, someone wants to bring joy to the child, and as a result he gets seriously ill,” added Malyshev.
He noted that in the human population there are about one and a half thousand infectious diseases, and in animals there are even more.