Virological and molecular epidemiological investigations into the role of wild birds in the epidemiology of influenza A/H5N1 in central Thailand
Siengsanan-Lamont J., Robertson I., Blacksell SD., Ellis T., Fenwick S., Saengchoowong S., Suwanpukdee S., Yongyuttawichai P., Sariya L., Prompiram P., Chaichoun K., Wiriyarat W., Pothieng D., Ratanakorn P.
A serological and virological surveillance program to investigate the HPAI H5N1 virus in wild bird populations was undertaken from February 2007 to October 2008. The purpose of the survey was to investigate the infection status in free ranging wild birds in Banglane district, Nakhon Pathom province, central Thailand. Samples from wild birds were collected every two months. Choanal and cloacal swabs, serum and tissue samples were collected from 421 birds comprising 44 species. Sero-prevalence of the virus tested by H5N1 serum neutralization test (using a H5N1 virus clade 1; A/chicken/Thailand/vsmu-3-BKK/2004) was 2.1% (8 out of 385 samples; 95% CI 0.7, 3.5). Species that were antibody positive included rock pigeons (Columba livia), Asian pied starling (Gracupica contra), spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis), oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis), blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus), myna (Acridotheres spp.), and pond heron (Ardeola spp.). Prevalence by H5N1 virus isolation was 0.5% (2 out of 421 samples; 95% CI 0.0, 1.1); the two H5N1 virus-positive samples were from Asian pied starling (Gracupica contra) and white vented myna (Acridotheres grandis). Positive virological samples were collected in June 2007 while all positive serology samples were collected between May and August except for one sample collected in December 2007. No positive samples were collected in 2008. Molecular studies revealed that the wild bird H5N1 viruses were closely related to poultry viruses isolated in other parts of Thailand. However, there was no poultry H5N1 prevalence study performed in the study site during the time of this wild bird survey. Interpretation of source of virus isolates would include spill-over of H5N1 viruses from contaminated sources due to movement of domestic poultry and/or fomites from other areas; or infection of wild birds within the outbreak locations and then translocation by wild bird movement and interaction with wild birds inhabiting distant locations. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.