Global consultation on highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI): AI Prevention and Control

Eric Brum, Robyn Alders, Damian Tago-Pacheco, Nguyen Thi Diep, Columba Teru Vakuru, Ahmed Saad

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is a highly contagious disease that has severe impacts on animal and human health, livelihoods, and the economy. Since its emergence in Asia over 20 years ago, avian influenza (AI) caused by A(H5Nx) subtype viruses in the goose/Guangdong/1/96 lineage (gsGD) has affected poultry, wild birds, humans, and other mammals. These viruses have spread across Eurasia and western Africa since 2005, leading to multiple waves of intercontinental transmission. Presently, they have spread to nearly all parts of the world except Oceania and Antarctica. Some countries have managed to eliminate the virus from poultry, while others have implemented measures to mitigate its impact. Wild birds and cross-border trade, particularly informal poultry trade, have played significant roles in the transmission of AI. The ongoing H5 HPAI wave, which started in 2020, has affected more than 70 countries and territories, resulting in over 11,000 disease events in domestic and wild bird populations. It is the first wave to reach Central and South America. While human cases associated with gsGD viruses have occurred, there is no sustained human-to-human transmission reported. Nevertheless, these viruses are considered a potential pandemic threat. The virus has also spilled over to various mammalian species, such as farmed mink in Spain and pinnipeds in the Americas. Endangered species have experienced significant mortality, contributing to the loss of biodiversity. Genetic analysis reveals multiple genotypes resulting from reassortment with other avian influenza viruses in both wild birds and poultry. The current panzootic of HPAI is unprecedented in terms of its extensive spread and the number of wild birds and mammals affected. Whether the current clade virus will persist in wild birds as an ongoing source of infection for poultry remains unclear. The devastation caused by this virus underscores the need to prevent new strains from establishing in wild birds and causing further waves of infection. This requires improved control measures in places where the virus persists and evolves in poultry, as well as stronger engagement of the wildlife and environmental sectors using a One Health approach. Recognizing the global spread of AI and the evolution of avian influenza viruses in wild birds, FAO and World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) Network of Expertise on Animal Influenza (OFFLU) organized a global scientific community consultation meeting to review the latest science and evidence on the disease. The objective was to support the development and implementation of disease prevention and control strategies, as well as contribute to global efforts in reducing pandemic risk.
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyFAO
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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