159154 Bird flu: A virus of our own hatching

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 8:50 AM

Michael Greger, MD , Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture, Humane Society of the United States, Washington, DC
Leading flu experts now predict as inevitable a pandemic of influenza, triggered by avian flu strains, leading to sickness and death that may include millions worldwide. The particular avian influenza virus now making headlines has existed innocuously for millions of years in the intestines of wild ducks. What turned a harmless waterborne duck virus into a killer? This presentation traces the human role in the evolution of this virus. In particular, it will explore how the changing environment of humans and domesticated animals – and especially the intensive production of poultry – may be linked to H5N1 influenza virus. The presentation will explore what can be done to reduce the likelihood of potential future pandemics, in light of this evidence.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the parallel evolution of the human relationship with animals—especially livestock raised for food—and the emergence of the major infectious diseases of humankind. 2. Recognize the characteristics of large-scale confined poultry and livestock operations that make these operations effective laboratories for the emergence of new zoonotic diseases. 3. Summarize evidence that the H5N1 avian influenza virus has its origins in large-scale industrial poultry operations, and discuss the changes that are needed to prevent future pandemics.

Keywords: Emerging Diseases, Food Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.