A One Health approach to influenza virus infections to support public health

Abstract number: S358

Capua I.

The emergence and spread of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus (H1N1 2009) from the animal reservoir raises questions on the future approach to influenzavirus infections. We have evidence demonstrating that influenzavirus genes migrate across continents and animal species, and assemble themselves in combinations which are a threat to animal and human health, resulting in panzootics like H5N1 or pandemics like H1N1 2009. The latter contains a unique combination of genes from three species and two hemispheres. In a globalized environment, mapping gene movement across species and national borders and identifying mutations and gene constellations with pandemic potential or virulence determinants is essential to enact prevention and control strategies at a global level. This is in line with, and possibly the best example of, the 'One Health' vision: a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to improve the health of humans, animals and the environment endorsed by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organisation.

Vast improvements in capacity building have been achieved as a result of the H5N1 global crisis. Thousands of viral isolates with zoonotic potential have been obtained through surveillance efforts, although the genetic information has not been exploited fully. In addition, the circulation of influenzaviruses in certain species including dogs, pigs and horses has been neglected.

Time has come to invest in a novel approach to influenzavirus infections, abandoning prefixed compartments linked to geographical origin or species of isolation, and analyse the influenza gene pool as one entity. We propose capitalising on existing achievements and investments to develop an international network and a permanent observatory which will improve our understanding of the dynamics of the influenzavirus gene pool in animals and humans. This will generate essential information to support both public and animal health.

The "One Flu" initiative would result in international synergies, bridging gaps between medical and veterinary scientists, permanent monitoring of virus evolution and epidemiology and the best exploitation of investments in capacity building. Above all it could be a challenge and opportunity to implement the "One Health" vision, and possibly act as a model for other emerging zoonotic diseases.

Session Details

Date: 10/04/2010
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: Abstracts 20th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: Vienna, Austria, 10 - 13 April 2010
Presentation type:
Back to top