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Tagged with: influenza

Influenza is for the birds … and dogs, pigs, horses, and humans

02/03/2016

"On the surface, it might seem like we had a really mild flu season.  As 2015 came to a close and most were making plans for the New Year, more than 13,000 people were tested for seasonal influenza A in a single week. Of those, 157 were positive, and one additional novel A infection was confirmed, reflecting an unusually low level of human influenza activity across the nation so far this season.

However, animals haven’t been quite so lucky.  Last year saw a number of influenza A outbreaks in several different species, including horses, dogs, birds and pigs. 

Outbreaks that start in an animal population might not stay there.   One Health, the concept that animal, human and environmental health are connected,  can help us work more effectively with partners across different disciplines, such as doctors, veterinarians, ecologists, and public health experts, to identify and address emerging threats to health that start in animal populations.  

Global ecologic research has confirmed that influenza A viruses are especially likely to make the jump from animal to human hosts.  Influenza A viruses are able to mutate easily causing large-scale or even global outbreaks. They are responsible for all six historical pandemics and the only flu strain with the capability to present such a threat in the future."

How Vietnam Mastered Infectious Disease Control

11/05/2015

Excerpt: "Southeast Asia is recognized as a hotspot for new viruses—it’s where virus hunters go to figure out what to put in next year’s flu vaccines. O’Leary says that Vietnam’s large population of domestic ducks, chickens, and pigs makes the country particularly vulnerable. “There’s a lot of potential contact with human populations,” he says. And then there’s the continued impact of human activity on forests. “The forests have been extensively logged, and so the opportunities for wildlife, for instance, to come into contact with domestic animals and into contact with humans are great,” he says.

Public health leaders in Vietnam are well aware that the country is a breeding ground for new diseases. And they’re sold on One Health, both for Vietnam itself and for global health security. “Diseases used to be enclosed in certain regions or countries,” says Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Health Department. “Now globalization has made them easier to spread.” In 2003, Vietnam was the second country to report a case of SARS, a disease that whipped up waves of panic as it threatened to spread around the world. It was also the first country to contain the outbreak."

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