Zoonotic Influenza and Human Health—Part 2: Clinical Features, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention Strategies

K. Mehta, L. W. Goneau, J. Wong, A. G. L’Huillier, J. B. Gubbay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Zoonotic influenza viruses are those influenza viruses that cross the animal-human barrier and can cause disease in humans, manifesting from minor respiratory illnesses to multiorgan dysfunction. The increasing incidence of infections caused by these viruses worldwide has necessitated focused attention to improve both diagnostic as well as treatment modalities. In this second part of a two-part review, we discuss the clinical features, diagnostic modalities, and treatment of zoonotic influenza, and provide an overview of prevention strategies. Recent Findings: Illnesses caused by novel reassortant avian influenza viruses continue to be detected and described; most recently, a human case of avian influenza A(H7N4) has been described from China. We continue to witness increasing rates of A(H7N9) infections, with the latest (fifth) wave, from late 2016 to 2017, being the largest to date. The case fatality rate for A(H7N9) and A(H5N1) infections among humans is much higher than that of seasonal influenza infections. Since the emergence of the A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic, and subsequently A(H7N9), testing and surveillance for novel influenzas have become more effective. Various newer treatment options, including peramivir, favipiravir (T-705), and DAS181, and human or murine monoclonal antibodies have been evaluated in vitro and in animal models. Summary: Armed with robust diagnostic modalities, antiviral medications, vaccines, and advanced surveillance systems, we are today better prepared to face a new influenza pandemic and to limit the burden of zoonotic influenza than ever before. Sustained efforts and robust research are necessary to efficiently deal with the highly mutagenic zoonotic influenza viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalCurrent Infectious Disease Reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Avian influenza
  • Pandemic
  • Swine influenza
  • Zoonotic influenza

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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