The persistent circulation of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) is an ongoing problem for many countries in South East Asia, causing large economic losses to both the agricultural and health sectors. This review analyses AIV diversity, evolution and the risk of AIV emergence in humans in countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS): Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam (excluding China). The analysis was based on AIV sequencing data, serological studies, published journal articles and AIV outbreak reports available from January 2003 to December 2018. All countries of the GMS have suffered losses due repeated outbreaks of highly pathogenic (HP) H5N1 that has also caused human cases in all GMS countries. In Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam AIV outbreaks in domestic poultry have also been caused by clade 18.104.22.168 H5N6. A diverse range of low pathogenic AIVs (H1-H12) have been detected in poultry and wild bird species, though surveillance for and characterization of these subtypes is limited. Subtype H3, H4, H6 and H11 viruses have been detected over prolonged periods; whilst H1, H2, H7, H8, H10 and H12 viruses have only been detected transiently. H9 AIVs circulate endemically in Cambodia and Vietnam with seroprevalence data indicating human exposure to H9 AIVs in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. As surveillance studies focus heavily on the detection of H5 AIVs in domestic poultry further research is needed to understand the true level of AIV diversity and the risk AIVs pose to humans in the GMS.
Keywords: Avian; Cambodia; Influenza; Laos; Mekong; Myanmar; Poultry; Thailand; Vietnam; Zoonosis.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.