Canadian Poultry Magazine

How the current avian influenza strain evolved to be so deadly

By Nature   

News Disease watch

Genetic changes to avian influenza viruses have led to spread among many wild species, creating an uncontrollable global outbreak.

Researchers studying the evolution of the bird flu virus over the past 18 years have shown how the strain currently circulating worldwide, an extremely deadly form of the H5N1 subtype, has become increasingly infectious to wild birds.

The strain emerged in Europe in 2020, and has spread to an unprecedented number of countries.

The study, published in Nature on 18 October1, looked at changes to the virus’s genome over time and used data on reported outbreaks to track how it spread.


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