Topical Collection "Human and Animal Influenzas: A Shared Public Health Concern"

Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. John Pasick

Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 106 Wigle Avenue, Unit 1, Kingsville, Ontario N9Y 2J8, Canada
E-Mail
Interests: influenza A virus ecology; epidemiology; virus/host interactions; viral pathogenesis
Co-Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Stephan Pleschka

Institute für Medizinische Virologie, Schubertstr. 81, 35392 Giessen, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: molecular biology of influenza viruses;identifying virus-cell interactions that regulate influenza virus preplication; viral factors that allow influenza viruses to infect specific hosts; human and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past two decades, influenza A viruses have been of increasing concern to veterinary and human public health. From their wild waterfowl reservoir, influenza A viruses can sporadically spread to infect other species including domestic poultry and mammals. The majority of these sporadic transmission events are self-limiting but occasionally result in the formation of stable viral lineages that are capable of sustained transmission within the new host. While influenza A viruses that infect humans, poultry and pigs have been extensively studied, less is known about the viruses that infect horses, dogs, cats, mink and marine mammals. The transmission pathways, barriers to interspecies transmission and viral adaptations that are associated with establishing a stable lineage in a new host are complex and only beginning to be understood. The genetic plasticity responsible for the evolution of novel viruses capable of efficiently replicating and spreading within a new host is a function of the error prone nature of the viral polymerase complex and gene segment reassortment.  Although a number of viral signatures associated with high pathogenicity for domestic poultry and mammalian tropism have been identified, we are still far from accurately predicting the genetic or protein configurations that hallmark a zoonotic virus.

The emergence of the A/Goose/Guangdong/1/1996 (H5N1) lineage completely changed our view of the potential origins of the next human pandemic virus. In February 1997, eighteen human cases of H5N1 that resulted in six deaths were reported in Hong Kong. Outbreaks in commercial chicken farms and live bird markets that involved this virus led to the territory-wide slaughter of more than 1.5 million chickens by December 1997. During the following six years limited outbreaks of H5N1 in birds but no human cases were reported in Hong Kong and China. The virus re-emerged in February 2003 and between 2003 and 2005 poultry outbreaks and human cases occurred in China and multiple countries in Southeast Asia.  As of August 18, 2017, two decades after the first reported cases in people, a total of 859 laboratory-confirmed human cases that include 450 deaths in 16 countries have been associated with viruses belonging to this lineage. Fortunately, all cases have been the result of self-limiting sporadic transmission events involving high risk contacts with infected poultry and no sustained human-to-human transmission.  The concern over H5N1 as a potential pandemic virus was eclipsed by the emergence of a second poultry-origin virus in China in 2013. As of August 7, 2017, five epidemic waves of poultry-to-human H7N9 infections have resulted in a total of 1557 laboratory-confirmed cases and 573 deaths. Notwithstanding the legitimate concern that these two avian-origin viruses have generated, it was a swine-origin virus that suddenly emerged in 2009 that resulted in the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century, illustrating not only gaps in surveillance but in our inability to predict where the next pandemic virus will come from.

This Topical Collection of Veterinary Sciences will explore the multifaceted interfaces associated with interspecies influenza A virus transmission and its implications for veterinary and human public health. Topics to be addressed include but are not limited to: Virus biology within natural (waterfowl reservoir) versus artificial (industrial agriculture) ecosystems, surveillance requirements, practices and behaviors that enable inter-species transmission, the role of biosecurity, the evolution of low pathogenic to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in domestic poultry, the “mixing vessel” paradigm and “outlier scenarios”, zoonotic strain prediction, animal-to-human and human-to-animal transmission, and pandemic strain evolutionary pathways.

Dr. John Pasick

Prof. Dr. Stephan Pleschka

Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Biosecurity
  • Ecology
  • Epidemiology
  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)
  • Host range
  • Interface
  • interspecies transmission
  • low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)
  • mixing vessel
  • pandemic
  • reservoir hosts
  • seasonal influenza/pandemic influenza
  • species barrier
  • surveillance
  • transmission
  • transmissibility
  • viral evolutionary pathways
  • viral tropism
  • zoonotic

Published Papers (6 papers)

2019

Jump to: 2018

Open AccessReview
Innate Immune Responses to Avian Influenza Viruses in Ducks and Chickens
Vet. Sci. 2019, 6(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci6010005
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 26 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
Mallard ducks are important natural hosts of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses and many strains circulate in this reservoir and cause little harm. Some strains can be transmitted to other hosts, including chickens, and cause respiratory and systemic disease. Rarely, these highly [...] Read more.
Mallard ducks are important natural hosts of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses and many strains circulate in this reservoir and cause little harm. Some strains can be transmitted to other hosts, including chickens, and cause respiratory and systemic disease. Rarely, these highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses cause disease in mallards, while chickens are highly susceptible. The long co-evolution of mallard ducks with influenza viruses has undoubtedly fine-tuned many immunological host–pathogen interactions to confer resistance to disease, which are poorly understood. Here, we compare innate responses to different avian influenza viruses in ducks and chickens to reveal differences that point to potential mechanisms of disease resistance. Mallard ducks are permissive to LPAI replication in their intestinal tissues without overtly compromising their fitness. In contrast, the mallard response to HPAI infection reflects an immediate and robust induction of type I interferon and antiviral interferon stimulated genes, highlighting the importance of the RIG-I pathway. Ducks also appear to limit the duration of the response, particularly of pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. Chickens lack RIG-I, and some modulators of the signaling pathway and may be compromised in initiating an early interferon response, allowing more viral replication and consequent damage. We review current knowledge about innate response mediators to influenza infection in mallard ducks compared to chickens to gain insight into protective immune responses, and open questions for future research. Full article
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2018

Jump to: 2019

Open AccessReview
The Multifaceted Zoonotic Risk of H9N2 Avian Influenza
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(4), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5040082
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 31 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
Poultry-adapted H9N2 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) are commonly found in many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, and although classified as low pathogenic viruses, they are an economically important disease. Besides the importance of the disease in the poultry industry, [...] Read more.
Poultry-adapted H9N2 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) are commonly found in many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, and although classified as low pathogenic viruses, they are an economically important disease. Besides the importance of the disease in the poultry industry, some H9N2 AIVs are also known to be zoonotic. The disease in humans appears to cause primarily a mild upper respiratory disease, and doesn’t cause or only rarely causes the severe pneumonia often seen with other zoonotic AIVs like H5N1 or H7N9. Serologic studies in humans, particularly in occupationally exposed workers, show a large number of people with antibodies to H9N2, suggesting infection is commonly occurring. Of the four defined H9N2 poultry lineages, only two lineages, the G1 and the Y280 lineages, are associated with human infections. Almost all of the viruses from humans have a leucine at position 226 (H3 numbering) of the hemagglutinin associated with a higher affinity of binding with α2,6 sialic acid, the host cell receptor most commonly found on glycoproteins in the human upper respiratory tract. For unknown reasons there has also been a shift in recent years of poultry viruses in the G1 and Y280 lineages to also having leucine instead of glutamine, the amino acid found in most avian viruses, at position 226. The G1 and Y280 poultry lineages because of their known ability to infect humans, the high prevalence of the virus in poultry in endemic countries, the lack of antibody in most humans, and the shift of poultry viruses to more human-like receptor binding makes these viruses a human pandemic threat. Increased efforts for control of the virus, including through effective vaccine use in poultry, is warranted for both poultry and public health goals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Variability in the Non-Coding Regions of Influenza A Viruses
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5030076
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 25 August 2018
PDF Full-text (5866 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The genomes of influenza A viruses (IAVs) comprise eight negative-sense single-stranded RNA segments. In addition to the protein-coding region, each segment possesses 5′ and 3′ non-coding regions (NCR) that are important for transcription, replication and packaging. The NCRs contain both conserved and segment-specific [...] Read more.
The genomes of influenza A viruses (IAVs) comprise eight negative-sense single-stranded RNA segments. In addition to the protein-coding region, each segment possesses 5′ and 3′ non-coding regions (NCR) that are important for transcription, replication and packaging. The NCRs contain both conserved and segment-specific sequences, and the impacts of variability in the NCRs are not completely understood. Full NCRs have been determined from some viruses, but a detailed analysis of potential variability in these regions among viruses from different host groups and locations has not been performed. To evaluate the degree of conservation in NCRs among different viruses, we sequenced the NCRs of IAVs isolated from different wild bird host groups (ducks, gulls and seabirds). We then extended our study to include NCRs available from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Influenza Virus Database, which allowed us to analyze a wider variety of host species and more HA and NA subtypes. We found that the amount of variability within the NCRs varies among segments, with the greatest variation found in the HA and NA and the least in the M and NS segments. Overall, variability in NCR sequences was correlated with the coding region phylogeny, suggesting vertical coevolution of the (coding sequence) CDS and NCR regions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Novel Flu Viruses in Bats and Cattle: “Pushing the Envelope” of Influenza Infection
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5030071
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 27 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (636 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Influenza viruses are among the major infectious disease threats of animal and human health. This review examines the recent discovery of novel influenza viruses in bats and cattle, the evolving complexity of influenza virus host range including the ability to cross species barriers [...] Read more.
Influenza viruses are among the major infectious disease threats of animal and human health. This review examines the recent discovery of novel influenza viruses in bats and cattle, the evolving complexity of influenza virus host range including the ability to cross species barriers and geographic boundaries, and implications to animal and human health. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Avian Respiratory Coinfection and Impact on Avian Influenza Pathogenicity in Domestic Poultry: Field and Experimental Findings
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5010023
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The avian respiratory system hosts a wide range of commensal and potential pathogenic bacteria and/or viruses that interact with each other. Such interactions could be either synergistic or antagonistic, which subsequently determines the severity of the disease complex. The intensive rearing methods of [...] Read more.
The avian respiratory system hosts a wide range of commensal and potential pathogenic bacteria and/or viruses that interact with each other. Such interactions could be either synergistic or antagonistic, which subsequently determines the severity of the disease complex. The intensive rearing methods of poultry are responsible for the marked increase in avian respiratory diseases worldwide. The interaction between avian influenza with other pathogens can guarantee the continuous existence of other avian pathogens, which represents a global concern. A better understanding of the impact of the interaction between avian influenza virus and other avian respiratory pathogens provides a better insight into the respiratory disease complex in poultry and can lead to improved intervention strategies aimed at controlling virus spread. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Impact of RNA Degradation on Viral Diagnosis: An Understated but Essential Step for the Successful Establishment of a Diagnosis Network
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5010019
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
PDF Full-text (4494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The current global conditions, which include intensive globalization, climate changes, and viral evolution among other factors, have led to an increased emergence of viruses and new viral diseases; RNA viruses are key drivers of this evolution. Laboratory networks that are linked to central [...] Read more.
The current global conditions, which include intensive globalization, climate changes, and viral evolution among other factors, have led to an increased emergence of viruses and new viral diseases; RNA viruses are key drivers of this evolution. Laboratory networks that are linked to central reference laboratories are required to conduct both active and passive environmental surveillance of this complicated global viral environment. These tasks require a continuous exchange of strains or field samples between different diagnostic laboratories. The shipment of these samples on dry ice represents both a biological hazard and a general health risk. Moreover, the requirement to ship on dry ice could be hampered by high costs, particularly in underdeveloped countries or regions located far from each other. To solve these issues, the shipment of RNA isolated from viral suspensions or directly from field samples could be a useful way to share viral genetic material. However, extracted RNA stored in aqueous solutions, even at −70 °C, is highly prone to degradation. The current study evaluated different RNA storage conditions for safety and feasibility for future use in molecular diagnostics. The in vitro RNA-transcripts obtained from an inactivated highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus was used as a model. The role of secondary structures in the protection of the RNA was also explored. Of the conditions evaluated, the dry pellet matrix was best able to protect viral RNA under extreme storage conditions. This method is safe, cost-effective and assures the integrity of RNA samples for reliable molecular diagnosis. This study aligns with the globally significant “Global One Health” paradigm, especially with respect to the diagnosis of emerging diseases that require confirmation by reference laboratories. Full article
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