HPAI Emerges in Many Nations


Official reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) confirm the widespread prevalence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Diverse serotypes are involved with H5N1 recently reported from China, Bulgaria, India, Nepal and Taiwan. Strain H7N3 was diagnosed in a small flock of birds near Mexico City in March. Taiwan is continuing to expend resources to suppress H5N2 in both duck and chicken farms.

Strain H7N9 with human health implications persists in China despite extensive vaccination of commercial poultry. It is possible that cases recently been diagnosed in humans are acquired from small flocks which were either not vaccinated or inadequately immunized. In China the zoonotic potential of H7N9 relates to contact between susceptible consumers and infected birds at wet markets.

It would appear that avian influenza now parallels the situation with Newcastle Disease that resulted in extensive epornitics from the mid-1920’s onwards until controlled by vaccination. Avian influenza may well become the Newcastle Disease of the current century.