Zoonotic Influenza and Human Health —Part 1: Virology and Epidemiology of Zoonotic Influenzas
AbstractPurpose of ReviewZoonotic influenza viruses are those that cross the animal-human barrier and can cause disease in humans, manifesting from minor respiratory illnesses to multiorgan dysfunction. They have also been implicated in the causation of deadly pandemics in recent history. The increasing incidence of infections caused by these viruses worldwide has necessitated focused attention to improve both diagnostic as well as treatment modalities. In this first part of a two-part review, we describe the structure of zoonotic influenza viruses, the relationship between mutation and pandemic capacity, pathogenesis of infection, and also discuss history and epidemiology.Recent FindingsWe are currently witnessing the fifth and the largest wave of the avian influenza A(H7N9) epidemic. Also in circulation are a number of other zoonotic influenza viruses, including avian influenza A(H5N1) and A(H5N6); avian influenza A(H7N2); and swine influenza A(H1N1)v, A(H1N2)v, and A(H3N2)v viruses. Most recently, the first human case of avian influenza A(H7N4) infection has been documented.SummaryBy understanding the virology and epidemiology of emerging zoonotic influenzas, we are better prepared to face a new pandemic. However, continued effort is warranted to build on this knowledge in order to efficiently combat the constant threat posed by the zoonotic influenza viruses.
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