ICBAS - Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar

One Health —
One Health in Action

Avian influenza – how One Health initiative matters!

April 2023

By Sofia Costa Lima, ICBAS

PORTO - Avian influenza virus is spreading in Africa, Asia, Europe, and America. Avian flu virus is a contagious influenza type A virus that can infect and kill poultry (such as chickens, domestic ducks. pheasants, turkeys, quail, among others) and wild birds (including migratory birds). Significant outbreaks have been raising, since October 2021, reaching new geographical areas and causing devastating impacts on animal health and welfare. Avian influenza can occasionally be transmitted to humans and other mammals. This infection represents a global risk to food security, animal health, and livelihoods for poultry farmers, but also a threat to wildlife on sea and land animals. Besides disrupting the local ecology outbreaks harm biodiversity.

Migratory birds are the natural reservoir for the avian influenza virus. Climate change is influencing migration routes, given the seasonal alterations. Now, migratory bird populations are coping with one another increasing the odds of new virus variants. A surveillance program to monitor the evolution and diversity of variants is crucial to prevent animal, environmental and human health. Addressing the avian influenza virus requires One Health strategy.

Now, more than ever, governments need to invest in local and global approaches that focus on the interface of animal/ human/environmental health to enable communication and preparedness responses for current and future challenges.

Image Credits: Sofia Lima

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