Comparison of 2016–17 and Previous Epizootics of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5 Guangdong Lineage in Europe

Alarcon, P and Brouwer, A and Vekatesh, D and Duncan, D and Dovas, C I and Georgiades, G and Monne, I and Fusaro, A and Dan, A and Smietanka, K and Ragias, V and Breed, A C and Chassalevris, T and Hjulsager, C K and Ryan, E and Sanchez, A and Niqueux, E and Tammiranta, N and Zohari, S and Stroud, D A and Savic, V and Lewis, N S and Brown, I H (2018) Comparison of 2016–17 and Previous Epizootics of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5 Guangdong Lineage in Europe. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 24 (12). pp. 2270-2283.

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Abstract

We analyzed the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 epizootic of 2016–17 in Europe by epidemiologic and genetic characteristics and compared it with 2 previous epizootics caused by the same H5 Guangdong lineage. The 2016–17 epizootic was the largest in Europe by number of countries and farms affected and greatest diversity of wild birds infected. We observed significant differences among the 3 epizootics regarding region affected, epidemic curve, seasonality, and outbreak duration, making it difficult to predict future HPAI epizootics. However, we know that in 2005–06 and 2016–17 the initial peak of wild bird detections preceded the peak of poultry outbreaks within Europe. Phylogenetic analysis of 2016–17 viruses indicates 2 main pathways into Europe. Our findings highlight the need for global surveillance of viral changes to inform disease preparedness, detection, and control.

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