, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 419-427
Date: 27 May 2009

H5N1 avian influenza in China

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Abstract

H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was first detected in a goose in Guangdong Province of China in 1996. Multiple genotypes of H5N1 viruses have been identified from apparently healthy waterfowl since 1999. In the years 2004–2008, over 100 outbreaks in domestic poultry occurred in 23 provinces and caused severe economic damage to the poultry industry in China. Beginning from 2004, a culling plus vaccination strategy has been implemented for the control of epidemics. Since then, over 35420000 poultry have been depopulated, and over 55 billion doses of the different vaccines have been used to control the outbreaks. Although it is logistically impossible to vaccinate every single bird in China due to the large poultry population and the complicated rearing styles, there is no doubt that the increased vaccination coverage has resulted in decreased disease epidemic and environmental virus loading. The experience in China suggests that vaccination has played an important role in the protection of poultry from H5N1 virus infection, the reduction of virus load in the environment, and the prevention of H5N1 virus transmission from poultry to humans.

Supported by the Key Animal Infectious Disease Control Program of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Chinese National S&T Plan(Grant No. 2004BA519A-57), National Key Basic Research and Development Program of China (Grant Nos: 2005CB523005, 2005CB523200).