Surveillance of avian influenza virus type A in semi-scavenging ducks in Bangladesh
Amina Khatun1, Mohammed Giasuddin2, Kazi Mehetazul Islam3, Sazeda Khanom3, Mohammed Abdus Samad2,
Mohammad Rafiqul Islam2, Monira Noor3, Jamal Uddin Bhuiyan3, Won-Il Kim1, Seong Kug Eo1
and Md Masudur Rahman3,4*
Ducks are the natural reservoir of influenza A virus and the central host for highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1), while domestic ducks rearing in semi-scavenging system could serve as re-assortment vessels for re-emerging new subtypes of influenza viruses between birds to human. Avian influenza virus (AIV) surveillance in Bangladesh has been passive, relying on poultry farmers to report suspected outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza. Here, the results of an active surveillance effort focusing on the semi-scavenging ducks are presented.
A total of 2100 cloacal swabs and 2100 sera were collected from semi-scavenging ducks from three wintering-sites of Bangladesh during three successive winter seasons, December through February in the years between 2009 and 2012. Virus isolation and identification were carried out from the cloacal swabs by virus propagation in embryonated hen eggs followed by amplification of viral RNA using Avian influenza virus (AIV) specific RT-PCR. The overall prevalence of avian influenza type A was 22.05% for swab samples and 39.76% ducks were sero-positive for avian influenza type A antibody. Extremely low sero-prevalence (0.09%) of AIV H5N1 was detected.
Based on our surveillance results, we conclude that semi-scavenging ducks in Bangladesh might play important role in transmitting Avian Influenza virus (AIV) type A. However, the current risk of infection for humans from domestic ducks in Bangladesh is negligible. We believe that this relatively large dataset over three winters in Bangladesh might create a strong foundation for future studies of AIV prevalence, evolution, and ecology in wintering sites around the globe.