Avian Influenza Preparedness Workshop
This workshop focused on the protection of human health during avian influenza outbreaks.
The workshop focused on the protection of human health, in particular occupational health, (early detection, notification, surveillance and protective measures) during recent avian influenza outbreaks. Representatives from national public and animal health institutes of EU/EEA Member States recently affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses A(H5N1) and A(H5N8) viruses, as well as representatives from the European Commission, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) participated in the workshop.
The meeting provided an update on the global situation with regard to outbreaks of avian influenza and a forum for exchanging experiences from the current and previous outbreaks in the EU to minimise the risk of transmission of avian influenza viruses to humans in Europe during avian influenza outbreaks. Specific avian influenza preparedness and response plans, protocols, guidelines and recommendations were presented and discussed to share best practices.
- Actions taken in 2014/2015 to control outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in most cases were sufficient.
- HPAI A(H5N8) did not raise high media attention, and was seen and communicated as veterinary problem.
- Antiviral treatment and vaccination approach differs between EU/EEA countries.
- Appropriate personal protective equipment is often not used when handling animals suspected to be infected with avian influenza viruses.
- Active vs. passive surveillance is resource dependent and needs to be up scaled if necessary.
- Managing outbreaks in wild birds could be very difficult (big size; migratory routes etc.).
Suggestions for the future
- Timely sharing of information is crucial and the sharing of resources helpful.
- The focus should include also other influenza viruses e.g. in seals and swine that could pose a threat to human health.
- Cooperation between animal and public health should be fostered on national level and maintained through the time when no outbreaks occur.
- Participants encouraged ECDC to further enhance its collaboration with EFSA, WHO, and FAO.
- Information exchange between animal- and public health sectors should be maintained during the time when no outbreaks occur.
- Simulation exercises are of great value and should be performed routinely.
- EU perspective for protocols/immediate action should be drafted.
- ECDC should collate recommendations on different options/scenarios, scientific studies/data on wild birds related to human health protection.
- Workers involved in culling infected birds or cleaning premises may not necessarily be fully fluent in the local language and therefore preparing leaflets in workers’ native languages covering topics such as how they can protect themselves, monitor health and contact healthcare services may be helpful in outbreak situations.
A report of the meeting has been written for internal purposes but is available on request. Please email IRV@ecdc.europa.eu to request a copy.Presentations: will appear on Slideshare in due course: http://www.slideshare.net/tag/ECDC-avian-influenza-meeting-2015.
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