PerspectiveEpidemiology

Sick birds don't fly…or do they?

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Science  14 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6309, pp. 174-175
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaj1646

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Summary

In 2014, a new, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) called H5N8 caused outbreaks in poultry in East and Southeast Asia and spread across the Northern Hemisphere to Europe and North America. In the United States alone, H5N8 outbreaks resulted in the destruction of more than 48 million poultry birds (1). International live-poultry trade and wild-bird migration have both been implicated in the intercontinental movement of H5N8 and other HPAIVs. H5N8 viruses have been found in wild birds (24), but strong links between poultry outbreaks and live-poultry trade or wild-bird migration have been elusive. On page 213 of this issue, the Global Consortium for H5N8 and Related Influenza Viruses (5) delineates the contributions of live-poultry trade and wild-bird migration to the global spread of H5N8 viruses.