Threat LensBiologicalGrowing concerns about avian influenza surveillance and pandemic risk

Growing concerns about avian influenza surveillance and pandemic risk

Type of event:
Disease/Outbreak, Public health




July 1, 2024

What happened

Experts monitoring avian influenza are concerned that the lack of surveillance may cause them to lag behind a potential pandemic. Since 2020, the new subtype H5N1 has been observed in migratory birds but has recently affected 129 dairy farms in 12 US states, signaling a possible risk of human transmission. Infections have also been found in various mammals. Scott Hensley, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, warned that the threat could quickly become very serious. Human surveillance is limited and fragmented across different agencies, which can slow the response. The CDC and the Department of Agriculture collaborate to monitor the situation but do not disclose specific information for security reasons. The WHO says the risk to humans is low, but there are plans to develop vaccines and antivirals if necessary. The United States and Europe are already taking preventative measures, for example, accumulating pre-trial vaccine doses.

Where it happened

Main sources