Title: Avian influenza: Epidemiology, diagnosis and control Author
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Avian influenza is one of the most important diseases affecting the poultry industry around the world. Avian Influenza virus (AIV) has a broad host range in birds and mammals, although the natural reservoir is considered to be in wild birds where it typically causes an asymptomatic to mild infection. The virus in poultry can cause a range of clinical disease, and is typically defined either as low pathogenic or highly pathogenic avian influenza depending on the type of disease it causes in chickens. Viruses that cause mild disease with low mortality are termed low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses. Viruses that replicate systemically and cause severe disease and mortality in experimentally infected chickens are referred to as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses. A virus that is highly pathogenic in chickens may infect but result in a completely different disease and replication pattern in other host species. Outbreaks of HPAI have been relatively uncommon around the world in the last 50 years and have had limited spread within a country or region with one major exception, Asian lineage H5N1 that was first identified in 1996. This lineage of virus has spread to over 60 countries and has become endemic in poultry in at least 4 countries. Avian influenza viruses also represent a public health threat, with some infected humans having severe disease and a high case fatality rate. AIV remains a difficult disease to control because of the highly infectious nature of the virus and the interface of domestic and wild animals. Diagnosis requires virus isolation or identification of specific genes or protein of influenza A virus. Vaccines provide control through prevention of clinical disease and death, and reduction in shedding and environmental contamination. Understanding of the disease and its transmission is important for control of the virus.