Virus surveillance in wild birds could offer an early warning system that, combined with adequate farm hygiene, would lead to effective influenza control in poultry units. The Global Consortium for H5N8 and Related Influenza Viruses found that the H5 segment common to the highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses readily reassorts with other influenza viruses (see the Perspective by Russell). H5 is thus a continual source of new pathogenic variants. These data also show that the H5N8 virus that recently caused serious outbreaks in European and North American poultry farms came from migrant ducks, swans, and geese that meet at their Arctic breeding grounds. Because the virus is so infectious, culling wild birds is not an effective control measure.
This work arises from the Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS) programme.
The Global Consortium for H5N8 and related influenza viruses (2016). Role for migratory wild birds in the global spread of avian influenza H5N8. Science. 354(6309): 213-217
Role for migratory wild birds in the global spread of avian influenza H5N8
Published 14 October 2016