Front Microbiol. 2018 Mar 27;9:528. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00528. eCollection 2018.
Potential Biological and Climatic Factors That Influence the Incidence and Persistence of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus in Egypt.

Salaheldin AH1,2,3, Kasbohm E1,4, El-Naggar H5, Ulrich R1, Scheibner D1, Gischke M1, Hassan MK6, Arafa AA6, Hassan WM6, Abd El-Hamid HS7, Hafez HM2, Veits J1, Mettenleiter TC1, Abdelwhab EM1.
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Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus (A/H5N1) of clade 2.2.1 is endemic in poultry in Egypt where the highest number of human infections worldwide was reported. During the last 12 years the Egyptian A/H5N1 evolved into several genotypes. In 2007-2014 vaccinated poultry suffered from antigenic drift variants of clade and in 2014/2015 an unprecedented upsurge of A/H5N1 clade occurred in poultry and humans. Factors contributing to the endemicity or re-emergence of A/H5N1 in poultry in Egypt remain unclear. Here, three potential factors were studied: climatic factors (temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed), biological fitness in vitro, and pathogenicity in domestic Pekin and Muscovy ducks. Statistical analyses using negative binomial regression models indicated that ambient temperature in winter months influenced the spread of A/H5N1 in different geographic areas analyzed in this study. In vitro, at 4 and 56C and recent viruses were more stable than other viruses used in this study. Further, Pekin ducks were more resistant than Muscovy ducks and the viruses were excreted for up to 2 weeks post-infection assuming a strong role as a reservoir. Taken together, ambient temperature in winter months potentially contributes to increasing outbreaks in some regions in Egypt. Heat stability of clade and recent viruses probably favors their persistence at elevated temperatures. Importantly, asymptomatically infected Pekin ducks may play an important role in the spread of avian and human-like A/H5N1 in Egypt. Therefore, control measures including targeted surveillance and culling of silently infected Pekin ducks should be considered.


Egypt; H5N1; clade 2.2.1; ducks; epidemiology; highly pathogenic avian influenza virus; meteorological factors; poultry

PMID: 29636730 PMCID: PMC5880882 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00528
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