Controlling Avian Influenza Virus in Bangladesh: Challenges and Recommendations
Avian influenza virus (AIV) remains a huge challenge for poultry production with negative repercussions for micro- and macro-economy and public health in Bangladesh. High (HP) H5N1 and low pathogenicity (LP) H9N2 AIV are currently endemic in poultry, and both have been reported to infect humans sporadically. Multiple virus introductions of different clades of HPAIV H5N1, reassorted genotypes, and on-going diversification of LPAIV H9N2 create a highly volatile virological environment which potentially implicates increased virulence, adaptation to new host species, and subsequent zoonotic transmission. Allotropy of poultry rearing systems and supply chains further increase the risk of virus spreading, which leads to human exposure and fosters the emergence of new potentially pre-pandemic virus strains. Here, we review the epidemiology, focusing on (i) risk factors for virus spreading, (ii) viral genetic evolution, and (iii) options for AIV control in Bangladesh. It is concluded that improved control strategies would profit from the integration of various intervention tools, including effective vaccination, enhanced biosecurity practice, and improved awareness of producers and traders, although widespread household poultry rearing significantly interferes with any such strategies. Nevertheless, continuous surveillance associated with rapid diagnosis and thorough virus characterization is the basis of such strategies.