Multiple poultry farmers are suspected of catching an avian flu strain in what could be the first instances of the illness being transmitted to people, according to a new report.
The World Health Organization was recently alerted to the situation by Russian authorities, who believe the H5N8 virus was passed on to the people, CNN reported.
“If confirmed, this would be the first time H5N8 has infected people,” WHO told CNN on Saturday.
The people potentially infected by the virus had been around flocks of birds, and are “asymptomatic and no onward human to human transmission was reported,” the health organization’s statement continued.
WHO did not specify what steps it will take to confirm whether the people were indeed infected by the strain of avian flu.
The organization’s comments came on the same day that TASS, a Russian agency, reported that health official Anna Popova said seven people who worked on a poultry farm were believed to be infected.
H5N8 is one strain of the flu that has been known to be dangerous to multiple species of birds.