Avian Influenza case study

Avian Influenza as a model airborne pathogen (all virus types)

Avian influenza (AI), or bird flu, refers to the many subtypes of influenza viruses that usually exclusively infect birds. Although the AI virus does not usually infect humans, some subtypes that are highly pathogenic to poultry can be zoonotic, thus causing a severe flu-like illness in humans. One example is the global spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N1 subtype in 2003 (CDC, 2018).

The viruses causing AI represent two types of risks for humans: 1) The risk that AI virus may transmit from birds to humans and result in severe human disease, especially in areas where people and domestic birds are in contact; 2) Influenza viruses evolve and can increase the risk of human transmission either through acquiring mutations or through the exchange of genome segments between different viral subtypes. Both situations are under surveillance by Public and Veterinary health agencies as they could lead to the generation of new pandemic subtypes (WHO).

MOOD’s case study dedicated to Avian Influenza aims to design and develop sustainable Epidemic Intelligence tools to meet the needs of Public and Veterinary Health practitioners for detection, monitoring, risk assessment and response activities.