Zoonotic Influenza Vaccines

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Staff
Last reviewed
September 17, 2021

Zoonotic Influenza Vaccines

Zoonotic influenza refers to diseases caused by animal influenza viruses, says the WHO. People can be infected with various influenza viruses circulating in animals, such as avian influenza (Bird Flu) virus subtypes A(H5N1) and A(H9N2) and swine influenza virus subtypes A(H1N1) and (H3N2).

Even though Bird Flu and Swine Flu viruses are found in humans, these animal viruses are distinct from human influenza viruses. The annual 'flu shot' does not prevent zoonotic influenza infections, says the U.S. CDC. However, vaccines to protect against 2009 H1N1 are widely available in the USA.

Avian Influenza Vaccines

Avian influenza (Bird Flu) is the disease caused by influenza type A viruses in animals. These viruses occur naturally among birds and domestic poultry. Whenever avian influenza viruses are circulating, there is a risk for sporadic infection and small clusters of human cases due to exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments, says the U.S. CDC.

Humans do not normally contract Avian flu viruses; however, human infections have occurred and are very lethal. In 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus (Bird Flu) emerged. It spread quickly across the USA and the world. This new H1N1 virus contained a unique combination of influenza genes not previously identified in animals or people. This virus was designated as influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus.

Globally, from January 2003 to February 2021, 862 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus were reported from 17 countries. Of these cases, 455 were fatal (CFR of 53%), reported the WHO. On February 4, 2021, the World Organization for Animal Health is an annual situation update.

The EMA conditionally Authorized AstraZeneca's Pandemic influenza vaccine H5N1 (P/LAIV) in May 2017 to prevent influenza in an officially declared pandemic in children and adolescents from 12 months to less than 18 years of age.

Swine Influenza Vaccines

When an influenza virus that normally circulates in swine (but not people) is detected in a person, it is called a “variant influenza virus,” says the CDC. The first swine influenza virus (Swine Flu) was found in pigs in 1918. Research points to a possible avian origin of the virus that was then transmitted to pigs. There are different swine influenza virus subtypes and strains, some of which have been known to infect other animal species, including (rarely) humans. When animal influenza viruses infect their natural animal host, they are named for that host, as in avian influenza viruses, swine influenza viruses, equine influenza viruses, etc. As such, the term “swine flu” refers to swine influenza viruses infecting swine.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting domestic and feral swine of all ages. African Swine Fever is either pig-to-pig or through a pig consuming contaminated pork, but the virus can also be spread through ticks and inadvertently by humans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA says it is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans.

Zoonotic Influenza Vaccine News

September 17, 2021 - The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health is closely monitoring a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food, and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel. The case involves a 40-year-old woman living in Yongzhou in Hunan Province, who had prior exposure to a live poultry market before the onset of symptoms. She developed symptoms on September 8 and was admitted for treatment on the following day. The patient is in serious condition.

September 10, 2021 - The U.S. CDC reported (2) human infections with novel influenza A viruses were reported by Iowa: one influenza A(H3N2) variant (A(H3N2)v) and one influenza A(H1N2) variant (A(H1N2v)). Investigation into the sources of infections showed that household members of one individual kept or cared for swine and the other individual had direct contact with swine. No human-to-human transmission has been identified.

September 8, 2021 - The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health in Hong Kong announced it is monitoring a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland. The patient is in serious condition. From 2014 to date, 42 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by China Mainland health authorities.

September 2, 2021 - A total of 239 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus have been reported from four countries within the WHO Western Pacific Region since January 2003. Of these cases, 134 were fatal, resulting in a case fatality rate of 56%. The last case was reported from Lao PDR, with an onset date of October 13, 2020.

August 30, 2021 - According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific regional office, China reported H9N2 avian flu infection from Hunan province who had been exposed to poultry. This is the 15th case of avian influenza A(H9N2) reported from China in 2021. A total of 56 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) have been officially reported from China to WHO since December 2015.

August 20, 2021 - The U.S. CDC confirmed two human infections with a novel influenza A virus was reported by Wisconsin. Both individuals have been infected with the influenza A(H1N2) variant (A(H1N2)v) virus. Both minors have completely recovered from their illness. Investigation into the source of the infections revealed that both patients attended the same county fair where swine was exhibited before illness onset. No human-to-human transmission of (A(H1N2)v) virus associated with either patient has been identified. Seven human infections with a novel influenza A virus have been reported in the USA this influenza season, including one H3N2v (WI), three H1N2v (OH, WI (2)), and three H1N1v (IA, NC, WI) virus infections. All cases had direct contact with swine or were on a property with swine present before illness onset.

August 20, 2021 - According to a statement from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection, China's confirmed its 16th H5N6 infection of 2021. For the second consecutive day in a row, a new H5N6 avian flu infection was reported in China. This new case was in Guangdong province.   From 2014 to date, Mainland China health authorities have reported 40 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6).

August 20, 2021 - The west Africa country of Benin reported a highly pathogenic H5 avian flu outbreak in poultry, the country's first since 2018. According to a notification by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the outbreak began on Jul 26, 2021, massive mortality of up to 50% was observed in the first two days following the onset of the disease in laying hens on a farm. The mortality to date is 6,626 poultry birds.

August 18, 2021 - The WHO published - Human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) ー India. India has reported avian influenza A(H5N1) outbreaks in poultry farms every year since it was first reported in a poultry farm in Maharashtra State in February 2006. On 21 July 2021, India's National IHR focal point notified WHO of one human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) from Haryana state, northern India. This is the first reported human infection of the influenza A(H5N1) virus in India. The available information and initial field investigations suggest that no additional cases have been suspected, indicating a low likelihood of human-to-human transmission. However, further sporadic cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5) viruses may be reported because these viruses have been occasionally detected in poultry populations in India.

August 16, 2021 - The National IHR focal point of India notified the WHO on July 21, 2021, of one human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) from Haryana state, northern India. This is the first reported case of human infection of the influenza A(H5N1) virus in India.

August 10, 2021 - The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health confirmed it is closely monitoring a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) on the China Mainland. The case involves a 55-year-old woman living in Chenzhou City of Hunan Province who had prior exposure to a live poultry market before the onset of symptoms. She was admitted for treatment on August 1st. The patient is in serious condition.

August 6, 2021 - The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health in Hong Kong closely monitors two human avian influenza A(H5N6) cases on the Mainland. The first case involves a 61-year-old woman living in Guilin in Guangxi who had prior exposure to a live poultry market before the onset of symptoms. The patient is in stable condition. The second case involves a 65-year-old woman living in Yibin City in Sichuan Province who had contact with dead poultry before onset. The patient is in critical condition.

July 23, 2021 - The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health closely monitors three human avian influenza A(H5N6) cases in the Mainland and again urged the public to maintain strict personal food and environmental hygiene locally and during travel.

July 23, 2021 - India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an alert: State Surveillance Unit (SSU) of IDSP, Haryana, initiates an epidemiological investigation into the first documented case of bird flu in humans. The child was diagnosed with AML in June 2021 at the Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS, Delhi. Soon after the induction therapy for AML, she developed fever, cough, cold, and shortness of breath. AML was diagnosed with febrile neutropenia, pneumonia that progressed to ARDS. He was admitted to AIIMS, New Delhi, on 2 July 2021. Several organs of the child stopped functioning, and he died on 12 July 2021.

July 14, 2021 - The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health confirmed it is closely monitoring a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Sichuan Province, China. The patient is in critical condition. The patient had contact with live domestic poultry before the onset of symptoms.

July 6, 2021 - Denmark reported a highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreak in poultry, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.

July 3, 2021 - China's CDC announced a fatal monkey B virus case in a 53-year-old man who worked as a veterinarian in Beijing. Initially isolated in 1932, the Monkey B virus is currently designated as Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. BV is an alphaherpesvirus enzootic in macaques of the genus Macaca, normally transmitted horizontally via direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions, just like the herpes simplex virus in humans. 

July 2, 2021 - Vietnam reported its first highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks in poultry in three provinces, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.

June 25, 2021 - The World Organization for Animal Health confirmed China reported a new highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreak in wild birds. China's H5N8 began on Jun 10, 2021, striking waterfowl in Ningxia autonomous region in the north-central part of the country. The virus killed 38 black-necked grebes, a type of waterfowl. Earlier in June 2021, China reported a similar H5N8 outbreak in Shaanxi province in the northwest.

June 22, 2021 - Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection reported two additional human H9N2 avian flu infections in different China provinces.

June 21, 2021 - In Manitoba, Canada, public health officials reported a swine-related variant H3N2 (H3N2v) flu case.

June 11, 2021 - The ECDC reported a human case with swine-origin influenza A(H1N1) virus variant (A(H1N1)v) were reported in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state of Germany. The person recovered. No human-to-human transmission has been identified.

June 10, 2021 - The WHO stated, 'This is the first human infection with avian influenza A(H10N3) to be detected. Previously, Australia and Egypt detected human infections with influenza A(H10N7), and China reported three human infections with avian influenza A(H10N8) in late 2013 and early 2014. Targeted surveillance projects have detected avian influenza A(H10N3) viruses in birds. However, the extent of circulation and epidemiology of this virus in birds is unclear. Further genetic and antigenic characterization is ongoing to determine if this virus is different from previously detected avian influenza A(H10Nx) viruses.

June 8, 2021 - The Government of Hong Kong SAR Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health confirmed a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. The patient is now in serious condition. Since 2014, the Mainland health authorities have reported 31 human avian influenza A(H5N6) cases.

June 8, 2021 -  The World Organization for Animal Health reported seven outbreaks involving highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu in wild and zoo birds in Western Cape province, South Africa.

June 8, 2021 - Avian influenza affected areas and global statistics of avian influenza A(H5N1).

June 7, 2021 - The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control confirmed it received a notification from the hospital in April 2021 that a 5-year-old girl living in the central area near pigs was confirmed with the H1N2v influenza virus. There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission. 

June 4, 2021 - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported five human infections with a novel influenza A virus in the USA in 2021, including H3N2v (WI), H1N2v (OH), and three H1N1v (IA, NC, WI) infections. All five of these infections occurred in people who reported direct exposure to pigs or lived on a property where pigs were present. 

June 1, 2021 - China reported that a man in Jiangsu province was hospitalized on April 28, 2021, and is in stable condition, the National Health Commission said. No human case of H10N3 has been reported elsewhere, the commission said. Various avian influenza strains in China sporadically infect people, generally those working with poultry. Therefore, experts suggest that the public in their daily lives should avoid contact with sick or dead poultry and avoid direct contact with live birds; attention to food hygiene, improve self-protection awareness, appear fever and respiratory symptoms should wear a mask just as soon as doctors.

May 31, 2021 - The World Organisation for Animal Health reported various Highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) outbreaks in Africa, Germany, and Lithuania.

May 28, 2021 - The U.S. CDC confirmed (1) human infection with an influenza A(H1N2) variant (A(H1N2)v) virus was reported by Ohio, the first during 2021. The patient has completely recovered from their illness. Investigation into the source of the infection revealed that the patient lives on a farm with swine present. No human-to-human transmission of A(H1N2)v virus has been identified associated with this patient.

May 5, 2021 - The U.S. CDC expanded the Influenza Risk Assessment Tool (IRAT) to included 21 listings. The IRAT is used to assess the potential pandemic risk posed by influenza A viruses that are not currently circulating in people.

May 5, 2021 - Germany reported four H5N1 outbreaks with either turkeys or layers between February 23, 2021, through May 3rd. Polymerase chain reaction tests were conducted at the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute National Laboratory. The H5N1 virus killed 517 of 22,171 birds.

April 30, 2021 - Separate variant influenza viruses have been found in two unrelated individuals in different communities in southern Manitoba. One is a case of human influenza A(H1N2)v, and one of human influenza A(H1N1)vS.

April 16, 2021 - The U.S. CDC reported one human infection with a novel influenza A virus in Wisconsin after the person had direct contact with swine. This person has been infected with an influenza A(H1N1) variant (A(H1N1)v) virus. This is the first influenza A(H1N1)v virus infection detected in the USA occurring in 2021, and the third novel influenza A virus infection (one A(H3N2)v and two A(H1N1)v viruses) occurring during the 2020-2021 season. The patient is a child < 18 years old, was not hospitalized, and has completely recovered from their illness. No human-to-human transmission has been identified in association with this patient.

April 9, 2021 - Nigerian authorities have reported influenza A(H5N1) outbreaks in poultry and human influenza A(H5) cases during 2021. As of 28 March, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in poultry have been reported in 30 farms from seven states in Nigeria. Also, the ECDC reported 13 blood samples had been collected from the very-close human contacts of birds in Bauchi (5), Gombe (5), and Plateau (3) states.

April 7, 2021 - The first human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) virus infection has been reported in Laos. A five-year-old boy developed symptoms on 28 February 2021, was hospitalized, and recovered. However, he had exposure to poultry, which also tested positive for A (H5N6). No further cases were detected.

March 30, 2021 - An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) is in force across the whole of England. In light of the two most recent cases of avian influenza and following an urgent review of the risk of avian influenza to both wild and kept birds: the housing measures component of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will still be lifted at 11:59 pm on the 31 March 2021; the AIPZ requiring enhanced biosecurity will remain in force until further notice but Wednesday 31 March 2021 will be the last day poultry and other captive birds will need to be housed (housing restrictions end at 11:59 pm on 31 March 2021); bird gatherings will remain prohibited.

March 26, 2021 - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a variant H1N1 (H1N1v) case involving a North Carolina resident who had daily contact with pigs. This person was infected with an influenza A(H1N1) variant (A(H1N1)v) virus in 2020. While this variant virus infection was not identified until 2021, it represents the first influenza A(H1N1)v virus identified from a specimen collected in the USA in 2020. No influenza A(H1N1)v virus infections have been identified in specimens collected in 2021 thus far.

March 25, 2021 - In a federal notification issued, the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said India has been on the list of regions “we consider to be affected” with African Swine Fever.

March 22, 2021 - The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health announced it closely monitors a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Guangxi and again urged the public to maintain strict personal food environmental hygiene locally and during travel. The case involved a 50-year-old man living in Hechi in Guangxi. He developed symptoms on February 16, 2021, and was admitted for treatment on February 17th due to severe pneumonia. The patient passed away on March 2nd. From 2014 to date, Mainland health authorities have reported 30 human avian influenza A(H5N6) cases.

March 19, 2021 - European countries reported wild bird outbreaks involving various strains, including H5N5 in the Czech Republic, H5 in Sweden, and H5N4 in the Netherlands.

March 15, 2021 - According to the World Organization for Animal Health, veterinary officials in the UK reported highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza in (5) seals and a fox that died at a wildlife rescue center in Surrey county. This location is where mute swans died from the virus in November 2020.

March 10, 2021 - Sweden reported an H5N5 outbreak at a poultry farm in Trelleborg that began on March 2, 2021. The farm culled about 3,000 of 18,000 susceptible birds. The country's last H5N5 outbreak in poultry was reported in November 2020. A protection zone (3km) and a surveillance zone (10 km) have been put around the infected farm. In addition, all other restrictions and necessary measures according to Directive 2005/94/EC were applied.

March 8, 2021 - Kuwait reported a highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreak in poultry. Kuwait's reported its last H5N8 outbreak in November 2020.

March 3, 2021 - The WHO published the Antigenic and genetic characteristics of zoonotic influenza viruses and candidate vaccine viruses developed for potential use in human vaccines. This summary summarizes the zoonotic influenza virus activity and characterization and describes the current status of developing candidate vaccine viruses for pandemic preparedness. It is meant to guide national authorities and vaccine companies to select candidate viruses for vaccine development.

March 1, 2021 - To date, five avian influenza A(H9N2) cases were reported from China in 2021. A total of 43 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) in China have been reported since December 2015.

February 25, 2021 - The WHO reported a total of 239 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus had been reported from four countries within the Western Pacific Region since January 2003 (Table 1). Of these cases, 134 were fatal, resulting in a case fatality rate (CFR) of 56%. The last case was reported from Lao PDR, with an onset date of 13 October 2020 (one case, no death).

February 18, 2021 - The National IHR Focal Point for the Russian Federation notified the WHO of detecting avian influenza A(H5N8) in seven human clinical specimens. These are the first reported detection of avian influenza A(H5N8) in humans. In addition, positive clinical specimens were collected from poultry farmworkers who participated in a response operation to contain an avian influenza A(H5N8) outbreak detected in a poultry farm in Astrakhan Oblast, the Russian Federation.