Abstract

To determine the seroprevalence and seroconversion of avian influenza virus (AIV) antibodies in poultry workers, we conducted a seroepidemiologic study in 7 areas of China during December 2014–April 2016. We used viral isolation and reverse transcription PCR to detect AIVs in specimens from live poultry markets. We analyzed 2,124 serum samples obtained from 1,407 poultry workers by using hemagglutination inhibition and microneutralization assays. We noted seroprevalence of AIV antibodies for subtypes H9N2, H7N9, H6N1, H5N1-SC29, H5N6, H5N1-SH199, and H6N6. In serum from participants with longitudinal samples, we noted seroconversion, with >4-fold rise in titers, for H9N2, H7N9, H6N1, H5N1-SC29, H6N6, H5N6, and H5N1-SH199 subtypes. We found no evidence of H10N8 subtype. The distribution of AIV antibodies provided evidence of asymptomatic infection. We correlated AIV antibody prevalence in live poultry markets with increased risk for H7N9 and H9N2 infection among poultry workers.

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A farmer veterinary walks inside a poultry farm

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