The epidemiological cycle of avian influenza (AI) involves interactions between the viruses, hosts, susceptible species and reservoirs (wild and domestic birds, mammals), and their population dynamics at different scales: gatherings and migrations of wild birds, livestock systems, commercial networks. To date, few studies have been carried out to determine the environmental factors behind the endemism and spread of these viruses. The role of the environment (surface water, mud, etc.) in the persistence of the infection is poorly understood.
The complexity of the cycle is heightened by the genetic flexibility of influenza viruses, which enables them to adapt and evolve, and which leads to the emergence of new virus variants. Moreover, populations with varying virulence exist within the same viral sub-type. Lastly, despite a certain degree of host-virus specificity, jumping the species barrier is possible. This phenomena was illustrated by the case of H5N1, which is transmissible to people. Different questions arise regarding the interaction mechanisms between the viruses and their hosts which determine the evolution of viral populations and the emergence of epizootics.
To describe and analyze the cycles, this project component will conduct longitudinal studies in different ecosystems and regions in Africa. The characterization of viral strains present in Africa will create a reference data base that can be used to analyze links with strains identified in Europe and Asia.
Interaction between wild bird communities and virus populations
Virus – environment interaction
Interaction between domestic animals and virus populations
Research Keywords :
Virology : Emmanuel Albina, Philippe Caufour, Patricia Gil, Saliha Hammoumi, Renata Servan de Almeida
Epidemiology : Véronique Chevalier, Stéphanie Desvaux, Sophie Molia
Ecology : Gilles Balança, Alexandre Caron, Nicolas Gaidet