Rapid reporting of avian flu: an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure
Avian influenza, or ‘bird flu’, has received a great deal of attention in recent years. And not without reason: the virus is extremely deadly to poultry and can also cause serious infections in humans. The deadly variant of avian influenza can develop from a much less dangerous variant, the low-pathogenic avian influenza virus (LPAI). This is a much milder variant that is unfortunately very common. Due to the risk of mutation into the more dangerous variant, it is vital that new infections are reported quickly. In her dissertation, Doctoral Candidate Arianna Comin describes a variety of strategies for tracking LPAI infections in poultry.
Since LPAI only produces mild symptoms, infections can often go unnoticed, so farmers must regularly collect samples in order to trace the virus and antibodies – a technique known as ‘active surveillance’. In areas with a high risk of the introduction of the virus or where LPAI has recently been reported it is vital that samples are taken every 20-30 days. Turkey farms and free-range chicken farms require even more attention, as these animals face a higher risk of infection with LPAI. Such measures allow farmers and veterinarians to report infections before they can lead to a major epidemic.
Less frequent surveillance is necessary in areas with a lower risk of the introduction of the virus. In these areas, regular health inspections and registration of declines in production (passive surveillance) are also effective monitoring instruments.
|Date and time:
||University Hall, Domplein 29, Utrecht
||Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
||Surveillance for early detection of low pathogenicity avian influenza in poultry
||Prof. J. A. Stegeman, PhD
||Dr. D. Klinkenberg, dr. S. Marangon (Italy)