Challenge for One Health: Co-Circulation of Zoonotic H5N1 and H9N2 Avian Influenza Viruses in Egypt


Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses are currently endemic in poultry in Egypt. Eradication of the viruses has been unsuccessful due to improper application of vaccine-based control strategies among other preventive measures. The viruses have evolved rapidly with increased bird-to-human transmission efficacy, thus affecting both animal and public health. Subsequent spread of potentially zoonotic low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H9N2 in poultry has also hindered efficient control of avian influenza. The H5N1 viruses acquired enhanced bird-to-human transmissibility by (1) altering amino acids in hemagglutinin (HA) that enable binding affinity to human-type receptors, (2) loss of the glycosylation site and 130 loop in the HA protein and (3) mutation of E627K in the PB2 protein to enhance viral replication in mammalian hosts. The receptor binding site of HA of Egyptian H9N2 viruses has been shown to contain the Q234L substitution along with a H191 mutation, which can increase human-like receptor specificity. Therefore, co-circulation of H5N1 and H9N2 viruses in poultry farming and live bird markets has increased the risk of human exposure, resulting in complication of the epidemiological situation and raising a concern for potential emergence of a new influenza A virus pandemic. For efficient control of infection and transmission, the efficacy of vaccine and vaccination needs to be improved with a comprehensive control strategy, including enhanced biosecurity, education, surveillance, rapid diagnosis and culling of infected poultry. View Full-Text

By | 2018-03-13T12:03:11+00:00 March 13th, 2018|

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