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Author(s) : T. Mettenleiter

Summary :

‘H5N1’ – never before has a virus which primarily affects poultry gained as much publicity as this subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV). The abbreviation has gained notoriety as presaging disaster in the form of a novel flu pandemic with catastrophic consequences. What has been largely lacking in the public perception, however, is the fact that avian influenza viruses have been part of our ecosystem for a long time, being well adapted to their natural hosts (primarily wild waterfowl) in a fine balance between survival of the virus and the host population. Thus, for us in the veterinary field, avian influenza in either low or highly pathogenic forms is nothing new.

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