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Review

An Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H7N7) in Australia and the Potential for Novel Influenza A Viruses to Emerge

by 1,* and 1,2,3,4
1
School of Nursing, Midwifery, Health Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, WA 6160, Australia
2
Institute for Health Research, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, WA 6160, Australia
3
Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
4
School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA 6027, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kirill Sharshov
Microorganisms 2021, 9(8), 1639; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081639
Received: 19 July 2021 / Revised: 29 July 2021 / Accepted: 30 July 2021 / Published: 31 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Pathogens)
In 2020, several geographically isolated farms in Victoria, Australia, experienced an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus H7N7 and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses H5N2 and H7N6. Effective containment and control measures ensured the eradication of these viruses but the event culminated in substantial loss of livestock and significant economic impact. The avian HPAI H7N7 virus generally does not infect humans; however, evidence shows the ocular pathway presents a favourable tissue tropism for human infection. Through antigenic drift, mutations in the H7N7 viral genome may increase virulence and pathogenicity in humans. The Victorian outbreak also detected LPAI H7N6 in emus at a commercial farm. Novel influenza A viruses can emerge by mixing different viral strains in a host susceptible to avian and human influenza strains. Studies show that emus are susceptible to infections from a wide range of influenza viral subtypes, including H5N1 and the pandemic H1N1. The emu’s internal organs and tissues express abundant cell surface sialic acid receptors that favour the attachment of avian and human influenza viruses, increasing the potential for internal genetic reassortment and the emergence of novel influenza A viruses. This review summarises the historical context of H7N7 in Australia, considers the potential for increased virulence and pathogenesis through mutations and draws attention to the emu as potentially an unrecognised viral mixing vessel. View Full-Text
Keywords: H7N7; avian influenza; emu; zoonotic; outbreak; Victoria; Australia H7N7; avian influenza; emu; zoonotic; outbreak; Victoria; Australia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bisset, A.T.; Hoyne, G.F. An Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H7N7) in Australia and the Potential for Novel Influenza A Viruses to Emerge. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 1639. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081639

AMA Style

Bisset AT, Hoyne GF. An Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H7N7) in Australia and the Potential for Novel Influenza A Viruses to Emerge. Microorganisms. 2021; 9(8):1639. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081639

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bisset, Andrew T., and Gerard F. Hoyne 2021. "An Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H7N7) in Australia and the Potential for Novel Influenza A Viruses to Emerge" Microorganisms 9, no. 8: 1639. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081639

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