FLURISK project proposes a model to rank animal influenza strains by their potential to infect humans

ECDC comment

​The final report of the FLURISK project by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) proposes a risk assessment framework to rank animal influenza strains according to their potential to infect humans.

​The final report of the FLURISK project by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) proposes a risk assessment framework to rank animal influenza strains according to their potential to infect humans. This model focuses on avian influenza viruses and, besides the characteristics of the virus strains, takes into account population data, animal production systems and geographic location of the viruses in question.

As an output, it provides an ‘opportunity’ map that indicates the global potential for a generic avian influenza virus to jump the species barrier from poultry to humans. The map thus provides information on high-risk areas for zoonotic infection from poultry.  While the ultimate aim is to develop a risk assessment framework that can be used as a prioritisation tool for intervention against potentially pandemic virus strains circulating in animal populations, the report recognises that, at this point, “this model is a prototype and would require further development to truly be effective as a decision-making aid”.

It is proposed to proceed with a trial period that would allow to fine-tune the tool. In addition, the report identifies scientific gaps and areas for the future research.

 Experts from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have contributed to the FLURISK project in the capacity of external advisors. 

More on avian influenza FLURISK report