Cafe Scientifique Henley Presents: Avian Influenza – what, why, where?

Wednesday 18 May
Online or at Henley Hockey Club

Prior to Covid-19, influenza was probably the most well-known respiratory infection both as the regular “seasonal flu” we encounter every year and for the periodic occurrence of pandemics, caused by a new strain, the last case of which was in 2009. In recent years however the press has increasingly reported avian flu in the UK, the form of influenza associated with wild birds which, if it spreads to domestic poultry, causes devastating losses and local lockdowns of the premises concerned. What is avian influenza, why do we have it and where has it come from? How do we treat it, is it a risk to people and if so, should we make and store vaccines just-in-case? We will review influenza virus to include its natural history, the species it infects and the way in which it is transmitted from one individual to another. We will take a realistic look at risk, whether every influenza is a pandemic threat, and what can be done to minimize cases so that the possibility of an outbreak is as small as it can be.

Speaker Ian Jones, Professor of Virology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Reading

Ian Jones graduated originally in Microbiology and Virology and has worked in the UK, France and the United States. His research topics have included influenza virus and he has provided frequent press comments during past flu outbreaks and on viruses in general.

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