Sunday, 8 October 2017

Public health concerns of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 endemicity in Africa

Review (Published online: 08-10-2017)
7. Public health concerns of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 endemicity in Africa
Olubunmi Gabriel Fasanmi, Ismail Ayoade Odetokun, Fatima Adeola Balogun and Folorunso Oludayo Fasina
Veterinary World, 10(10): 1194-1204
Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N1 was first officially reported in Africa in 2006; thereafter this virus has spread rapidly from Nigeria to 11 other African countries. This study was aimed at utilizing data from confirmed laboratory reports to carry out a qualitative evaluation of the factors responsible for HPAI H5N1 persistence in Africa and the public health implications; and to suggest appropriate control measures. Relevant publications were sought from data banks and repositories of FAO, OIE, WHO, and Google scholars. Substantiated data on HPAI H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in Africa and in humans across the world were mined. HPAI H5N1 affects poultry and human populations, with Egypt having highest human cases (346) globally. Nigeria had a reinfection from 2014 to 2015, with outbreaks in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso throughout 2016 unabated. The persistence of this virus in Africa is attributed to the survivability of HPAIV, ability to evolve other subtypes through genetic reassortment, poor biosecurity compliance at the live bird markets and poultry farms, husbandry methods and multispecies livestock farming, poultry vaccinations, and continuous shedding of HPAIV, transboundary transmission of HPAIV through poultry trades; and transcontinental migratory birds. There is, therefore, the need for African nations to realistically reassess their status, through regular surveillance and be transparent with HPAI H5N1 outbreak data. Also, it is important to have an understanding of HPAIV migration dynamics which will be helpful in epidemiological modeling, disease prevention, control and eradication measures.
Keywords: Africa, highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, public health implications.

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