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J Virol. 2011 Dec;85(24):13432-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.05266-11. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Indications that live poultry markets are a major source of human H5N1 influenza virus infection in China.

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State Key Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Genetic Engineering, National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 155 Changbai Road, Beijing 102206, China.


Human infections of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus have continued to occur in China without corresponding outbreaks in poultry, and there is little conclusive evidence of the source of these infections. Seeking to identify the source of the human infections, we sequenced 31 H5N1 viruses isolated from humans in China (2005 to 2010). We found a number of viral genotypes, not all of which have similar known avian virus counterparts. Guided by patient questionnaire data, we also obtained environmental samples from live poultry markets and dwellings frequented by six individuals prior to disease onset (2008 and 2009). H5N1 viruses were isolated from 4 of the 6 live poultry markets sampled. In each case, the genetic sequences of the environmental and corresponding human isolates were highly similar, demonstrating a link between human infection and live poultry markets. Therefore, infection control measures in live poultry markets are likely to reduce human H5N1 infection in China.

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