Avian influenza is a complex disease, with outbreaks in poultry having a severe impact on people’s livelihoods and international trade in many countries. Although most avian influenza viruses do not affect people, some, such as H5N1 and H7N9, are well known to the public as a result of the serious and sometimes fatal infections they have caused in people.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has launched a new OIE portal on avian influenza that brings together a wealth of information to enable a greater understanding of the disease and to detail the biosecurity measures recommended by OIE at both the farm and trade level to halt its spread.
Moreover, this platform describes the actions taken by OIE and its partners. Indeed, the prevention and control of zoonotic influenza strains is one of the three priorities of the Tripartite Alliance comprised of OIE, the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization. A dedicated page also provides access to communication tools targeted at various audiences.
During recent months, the H5N8 avian influenza strain, in particular, has been in the news because it was successively identified in several regions of the world, particularly Europe, as well as Asia and the Middle East. The new OIE portal allows users to follow this strain’s global evolution (and that of other H5 and H7 strains) in real time.
In addition, it is worth noting that OFFLU, the global network of expertise on animal influenza created and maintained by OIE and FAO, recently published a report on the H5N8 situation as well as advice on surveillance. This global scientific network works to reduce the adverse consequences caused by animal influenza viruses by promoting effective collaboration and information sharing among animal health experts and the human health sector.
More information on this network and on the H5N8 strain of the virus in particular are available on the portal.