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AVERT-Cam: An Early Warning System for AIV Transmission and Gene Flow in Cambodia

Vijay Dhanasekaran and his team are leading a collaborative project within the Pasteur Network involving the Institut Pasteur Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Project Summary

Scientific Coordinator

Dr. Vijay DHANASEKARAN - HKU School of Public Health - HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, Hong Kong

Pasteur Network Collaborators

Dr Erik KARLSSON - Institut Pasteur Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dr. Sebastian DUCHENE - Institut Pasteur Paris, France

Avian Influenza Virus: A Serious Public Health Threat

Avian influenza viruses (AIV) pose a serious public health threat in Cambodia, with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses and multiple subtypes of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses circulating. H5N1 infection in humans can cause severe disease, has a high mortality rate. For instance, in february 2023, 58 cases in Cambodia were reported to WHO, among them, 36 people died (CFR: 66%), it was the first reported cases since 2014.

Since 2003, near 873 human cases have been reported with 458 deaths worldwide (WHO).

Ununderstood Transmission And Maintenance

Most of the time, Influenza A (H5N1) infection cases in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or contaminated environments. To date, H5N1 virus is unlikely spreading among people, and infection is mainly linked to poultry-human contacts. According to WHO, as the virus is still detected in poultry populations, further human cases can be expected. Despite surveillance efforts, knowledge gaps remain concerning the factors influencing its transmission and maintenance, and the effectiveness of current control measures.

In 2022, economical cost of avian flue in US solely is estimated between $2.5-3 billion.

The Project

This project aims to improve our understanding of the transmission and evolution of AIV in poultry populations and their potential spillover to humans. The consortium will develop an early warning system for the transmission and gene flow of AIV in Cambodia. This ACIP will identify factors that influence the transmission, maintenance, and diversification of the virus. Moreover, the teams will focus on AIV genes flow linked to transmission between wild birds, poultry sectors, and humans. Altogether, those data will provide tools to evaluate the effectiveness of AIV spread control measures. The ultimate goal is to provide evidence-based recommendations for the most effective mitigation strategies against AIV that can be communicated to stakeholders in the poultry industry, public health officials, and policymakers.


Genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics, avian influenza virus, one health, zoonosis, meta-analysis, avian, bird, poultry, genomics, review, AIV, H5N1, phylodynamic, surveillance, poultry, transmission, maintenance, emerging disease


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