[Highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry (fowl plague); implications for human health].
Since 1997, high-pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) virus infection in poultry "avian plague" has emerged as a potential threat to human health, with some fatal cases of bird-to-human transmission. These sporadic infections are caused by H7N7 and H5N1 viruses in Europe and Asia, respectively. The persistence of H5N1 viruses in poultry in several Asian countries, and their appearance in Europe, has raised concerns that the virus might mutate or recombine to create a human pandemic influenza A virus. Wild waterfowl are the natural reservoir of all influenza A viruses, and rarely develop the disease. Since 2002, some H5N1 HPAI viruses have become lethal for waterfowl, cats and humans, indicating an expanding host range. Transmission of H5N1 HPAI viruses from domestic poultry back to resistant domestic and wild ducks and to terrestrial birds (sparrows, pigeons, falcons, etc.) has increased the risk of geographic spread in Asia. These viruses spread through fecal contamination of the environment (particularly groundwater). Low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) viruses cause localized respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infection and, unlike HPAI viruses, are not detected in blood, muscle or eggs. Detection of HPAI viruses in meat, blood and internal organs of chickens and ducks raises public health concerns and underlines the need to thoroughly cook poultry and eggs consumed in Asia. The last case of HPA1 virus infection in France was notified in 1955.
Membre de l'Académie nationale de médecine - Ecole nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort du Général de Gaulle, 94704 Maisons-Alfort Cédex, France.
Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype
Influenza A Virus, H7N7 Subtype
Influenza in Birds
Pub Type(s)English Abstract