Risk factors for exposure to influenza A viruses, including subtype H5 viruses, in Thai free-grazing ducks

Beaudoin AL, Kitikoon P, Schreiner PJ, Singer RS, Sasipreeyajan J, Amonsin A, Gramer MR, Pakinsee S, Bender JB

Free-grazing ducks (FGD) have been associated with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 outbreaks and may be a viral reservoir. In July-August 2010, we assessed influenza exposure of Thai FGD and risk factors thereof. Serum from 6254 ducks was analysed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect antibodies to influenza A nucleoprotein (NP), and haemagglutinin H5 protein. Eighty-five per cent (5305 ducks) were seropositive for influenza A. Of the NP-seropositive sera tested with H5 assays (n = 1423), 553 (39%) were H5 ELISA positive and 57 (4%) suspect. Twelve per cent (74 of 610) of H5 ELISA-positive/suspect ducks had H5 titres ≥ 1 : 20 by haemagglutination inhibition. Risk factors for influenza A seropositivity include older age, poultry contact, flock visitors and older purchase age. Study flocks had H5 virus exposure as recently as March 2010, but no HPAI H5N1 outbreaks have been identified in Thailand since 2008, highlighting a need for rigorous FGD surveillance.

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 61:362-374