The panzootic spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 sublineage a critical appraisal of One Health preparedness and prevention

With the world gradually recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to think forward when it comes to prevention of infectious disease outbreaks originating from the animal world.

There has been a huge body of work on the early detection and response to emerging disease outbreaks following spillover of animal viruses to humans, but far less focus on primary prevention. Primary prevention starts before the first cases of human illness occur, but its implementation is challenging. It requires a focus on understanding underlying principles of disease emergence, and the prevention of spillovers through a One Health approach across human, animal and environmental health sectors. Therefore, in addition to the public health concerns that are currently already widely addressed, One Health requires a focus also on biodiversity conservation and environmental impacts, wildlife health, and livestock production and consumption, and both wild and domestic animal health and welfare concerns. The recent unprecedented shift in the ecology of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) illustrates this need.