PhD defence S.A. (Saskia) Bergervoet
- Prof.dr. R.A.M. Fouchier
- Dr. N. Beerens
- Dr. A. Bossers
On Friday 5 March 2021, S.A. Bergervoet will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Avian Influenza at the Wild Bird-Poultry Interface’.
Avian influenza (AI), also known as avian flu or bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds. AI viruses predominantly circulate in wild aquatic birds, but can occasionally be transmitted to other animals, including poultry. Frequent mutations and the exchange of genetic material between viruses have led to a high genetic diversity and drives the constant emergence of novel virus strains. The studies described in this thesis demonstrate that detailed genetic analysis of AI viruses is a valuable tool to investigate the origin, evolution and transmission patterns of viruses, thereby improving our understanding of AI virus circulation at the wild bird-poultry interface. The studies also emphasized the value of combining genetic analysis with information on the spatiotemporal distribution or phenotypic traits, such as the capacity of viruses to replicate or cause disease in specific hosts. The studies have led to recommendations regarding current national and international surveillance programs, including more targeted monitoring based on sampling location, timing and species. More targeted monitoring is pivotal to identify sources of virus infections in poultry and to elucidate potential routes of virus transmission into poultry and between farms. The implementation of more efficient monitoring and effective prevention of introduction and spread of AI virus in poultry is important to reduce the threat to both animal and human health.
Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or in the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.