Avian influenza H5N1 surveillance and its dynamics in poultry in live bird markets, Egypt

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 11
  • SDG 6
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    H5N1, a highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 HPAI), is an endemic disease that is significant for public health in Egypt. Live bird markets (LBMs) are widespread in Egypt and play an important role in HPAI disease dynamics. The aim of the study was to evaluate the H5N1 HPAI prevalence in representative LBMs from 2009 to 2014, assess the effects of other variables and evaluate past outbreaks and human cases. It was found that ducks and geese are high-risk species and that the prevalence of H5N1 HPAI was higher immediately after the political crises of 2011. The end of a calendar year (June to December) was a high-risk period for positive samples, and the risk in urban LBMs was twice the risk in rural LBMs. Winter and political unrest was associated with higher H5N1 HPAI prevalence. Both human and poultry populations will continue to rise in Egypt, so continued poultry outbreaks are likely to be linked to more human cases. LBMs will continue to play a role in the dynamics of poultry disease in Egypt, and there is a need to reorganize markets in terms of biosecurity and traceability. It may also be beneficial to reduce inter-governorate inter-regional movements associated with poultry trade through promotion of regional trade or in the alternative provide sanitary features along the poultry market chain to reduce the speed of H5N1 HPAI infections. Policy formulation, design and enforcement must be pro-poor, and consideration of the sociocultural and economic realities in Egypt is important. The LBMs provide ideal platforms to carry out sound surveillance plans and mitigate zoonotic risks of H5N1 HPAI to humans.