Interspecies transmission of influenza viruses: H5N1 virus and a Hong Kong SAR perspective

Vet Microbiol. 2000 May 22;74(1-2):141-7. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1135(00)00174-7.


This account takes stock of events and involvements, particularly on the avian side of the influenza H5N1 'bird flu' incident in Hong Kong SAR in 1997. It highlights the role of the chicken in the many live poultry markets as the source of the virus for humans. The slaughter of chicken and other poultry across the SAR seemingly averted an influenza pandemic. This perspective from Hong Kong SAR marks the coming-of-age of acceptance of the role of avian hosts as a source of pandemic human influenza viruses and offers the prospect of providing a good baseline for influenza pandemic preparedness in the future. Improved surveillance is the key. This is illustrated through the H9N2 virus which appears to have provided the 'replicating' genes for the H5N1 virus and which has since been isolated in the SAR from poultry, pigs and humans highlighting its propensity for interspecies transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza A virus / genetics
  • Influenza A virus / pathogenicity*
  • Influenza in Birds / transmission
  • Influenza, Human / mortality
  • Influenza, Human / transmission*
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Zoonoses / transmission*