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J Infect Dis. 2007 Dec 1;196(11):1685-91. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Lack of evidence of avian-to-human transmission of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus among poultry workers, Kano, Nigeria, 2006.

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Influenza Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.



In February 2006, poultry outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus were confirmed in Nigeria. A serosurvey was conducted to assess H5N1 transmission among poultry workers and laboratory workers in Nigeria.


From 21 March through 3 April 2006, 295 poultry workers and 25 laboratory workers with suspected exposure to H5N1 virus were administered a questionnaire to assess H5N1 exposures, medical history, and health care utilization. A serum specimen was collected from participants to test for H5N1 neutralizing antibodies by microneutralization assay.


The 295 poultry workers reported a median of 14 days of exposure to suspected or confirmed H5N1-infected poultry without antiviral chemoprophylaxis and with minimal personal protective equipment. Among 25 laboratory workers, all handled poultry specimens with suspected H5N1 virus infection. All participants tested negative for H5N1 neutralizing antibodies.


Despite widespread exposure to poultry likely infected with H5N1 virus, no serological evidence of H5N1 virus infection was identified among participants. Continued surveillance for H5N1 cases in humans and further seroprevalence investigations are needed to assess the risk of avian-to-human transmission, given that H5N1 viruses continue to circulate and evolve among poultry.

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