Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Less Virulent Strains of Avian Influenza Can Infect Humans

14.09.2005


In findings with implications for pandemic influenza, a new study reports for the first time that a less-virulent strain of avian influenza virus can spread from poultry to humans. The research appears in the October 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.



Crossing the species barrier is an important step in the development of a flu virus with pandemic potential. Previous studies have focused on the ability of highly pathogenic strains, such as H5N1 “bird flu” circulating in Asia, to spread from poultry to humans. The new study shows less pathogenic strains are also capable of jumping to humans, giving them the opportunity to swap genetic material with human strains, which could result in a more virulent virus.

Researchers in Italy studied outbreaks that occurred among poultry between 1999 and 2003, to determine the risk of avian influenza virus transmission to persons in contact with the animals. The outbreaks occurred in northern Italy in regions where the majority of the country’s commercial poultry are raised on farms. Most previous cases of human infection with avian influenza viruses have involved close contact with infected poultry, particularly ill or dying chickens.


The investigators performed a serologic analysis of individuals exposed to infection during the outbreaks, collecting 983 blood samples from poultry farm workers in the outbreak regions. Blood was tested using three different techniques to ensure the validity of results.

The outbreaks involved two serotypes of avian influenza: one low and one highly pathogenic H7N1 and a low pathogenic H7N3 virus. Seven individuals exposed to the more recent outbreak of low pathogenic H7N3 tested seropositive for H7N3. The infected persons came from different farms in two locations and had close contact with turkeys or chickens. No serious symptoms were reported in connection with the infections.

The authors of the study, Dr. Isabella Donatelli of Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome and colleagues, noted that their work provides the first serologic evidence of transmission of low pathogenic strains of avian influenza virus to humans during an outbreak in domestic poultry. Previous reports of human infection in Asia, Canada, and the Netherlands have been associated, in contrast, with highly pathogenic strains. The investigators emphasized that their study probably underestimates the real infection rate of the two strains among exposed individuals, since blood samples were considered positive only if they repeatedly produced unequivocal positive results using several different serologic techniques. They commented, however, that very sensitive serologic techniques such as those developed in the study provide an efficient tool for preventing or controlling the spread of avian flu to humans.

The authors say their findings highlight the importance of improving disease surveillance not only during outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu, but also when less pathogenic strains are circulating. To forestall genetic exchange between human and avian strains, as in mixed infections, they emphasized that poultry workers should be systematically vaccinated, pointing out that such workers are identified as high-risk and included in the annual Italian vaccination campaign.

In an accompanying editorial, Frederick Hayden, MD, of the University of Virginia and Alice Croisier, MD, of the World Health Organization concluded, "The transmissibility of avian viruses may increase as the viruses adapt to humans. In affected countries, public education about simple precautionary measures for food preparation, poultry handling, and avoidance of contaminated water are essential until specific prevention measures such as vaccines become available."

Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.idsociety.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex
21.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>